There wasn’t much time to think. Jessica Hanley just had to go for it.
After three scoreless innings, Hanley knew she needed to spark a rally to lead off the fourth. What she didn’t realize is she would start and finish the scoring. After lining a triple down the rightfield line, she scored with a head-first slide following an overthrow on the cutoff in host Commack’s 1-0 victory over Longwood on Thursday in Suffolk I softball.
"I knew since I was leading off the inning, the team really needed to get some runs on the board,” Hanley said. “So when I got the hit, I just thought ‘Run.’ I didn’t think anything of it.”
Hanley was unsure whether coach Harold Cooley would send her home, but when he was waving her around third, she wasn’t going to be denied the run -- even if it meant some scrapes and a trip to the medical kit.
“I thought he was stopping me at first, but I knew I had to go,” Hanley said. “I was scared he was going to send me, but confident once I got to the plate. I just thought ‘Go for it.’ ”
“I was sending her either way,” Cooley said. “If she gets thrown out, she gets thrown out. At that point, there weren’t many hits in the game. I felt defensively we were still in control, so sometimes in a tight game like this, you need to take shots.”
Longwood (11-5) fought back in the seventh, when Kaelyn Correia led off by reaching on an error. With one out and Correia on second, Emmi Katz entered in relief of Sarah O'Connor. She induced a groundout, followed by a walk, and ended the game with a strikeout. Katz, who usually starts, called coming in relief a “challenge,” but she wanted the ball in her hand.
“It’s definitely one of those things where the adrenaline keeps me going,” Katz said.
O’Connor tossed 6 1/3 innings for Commack (8-5), allowing two hits and one walk, with four strikeouts. Angie Oquendo threw a complete game for Longwood, surrendering four hits and one walk, striking out three.
“I love the pressure and I really put myself out there,” O’Connor said. “I give it my all and I don’t let the mistakes affect me and I just go with it. I have to prove it to everyone else.”