The Panthers were in the mood for a melody. And Grace Malley had them feeling all right.
That's a famous lyric, with a twist, from Billy Joel's "Piano Man." After Babylon's 3-0 win over East Rockaway in the Long Island Class B championship game Thursday, the dugout erupted when Malley took out her harmonica and started playing the song.
"I learned how to play the night before our first playoff game," Malley said. "It's the only song I know, and I've played it after each win."
She's played it often, thanks to freshman pitcher Allie Stanya. Stanya -- no stranger to pressure despite her youth -- walked two and struck out 15 in a three-hit shutout. She's got a way of keeping her composure. "I was calm," she said. "I wasn't getting too hyped."
Gwen Donaldson singled and scored on a double by senior Bridgette Rohl to give Babylon a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Rohl stole third and scored when the ball was overthrown to make it 2-0.
Rohl has provided leadership to a Babylon team that starts four freshmen and one seventh-grader. All along she had been keeping the faith that Babylon could capture its third Long Island championship in five years.
"I wanted to be a good example," Rohl said. "It's really satisfying to help a team be the best they can be."
Emily Chelius allowed one earned run in seven innings for East Rockaway. Molly Cummings singled in the sixth and scored on an error to increase the lead to 3-0.
Stanya didn't face much pressure until the seventh. With a runner on first, she fielded a bunt but threw the ball into rightfield, where Rohl retrieved it and fired to third. Malley, who charged in from left to cover third, made a beautiful tag for the second out. It was perfect execution and a matter of trust in teammates.
"If it wasn't for them, that would have been a run," Stanya said. "We were all in it to win it."
This is the time to remember for the Panthers. With a win tomorrow against Marlboro in the regional finals, Babylon will be moving out of Long Island and into the semifinals of the state tournament in Glens Falls -- a place they haven't been in the longest time.
"That would be amazing," Malley said. "We're going to do it."
They're in an upstate New York state of mind.