SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. — Jenna Laird didn’t even have to look.
The East Meadow shortstop was certain Ballston Spa’s Angelina Stile had sent an 0-and-2 outside fastball over the fence at Moreau Recreational Park for a walk-off, two-run home run as the defending state champ Jets suffered a heartbreaking 6-5 loss in the state Class AA softball semifinal on Saturday.
“I knew right away,” said Laird. “I knew it was out.”
East Meadow, which won the 2017 state Class AA title, ends the season 19-6. The Jets overcame a 3-1 deficit with two runs in fifth and two more in the sixth to take a 5-3 lead. But Ballston Spa (21-3) scored a key run in the sixth to set up Stile’s homer in the seventh.
“We battled and I’m very proud of this team,” Jets coach Stew Fritz said. “We showed we were a championship team the way we came back, but they beat us. They outplayed us.”
Laird (2-for-3, two doubles, run, and a walk) had an RBI double in the fifth and Sam Reyes (2-for-4) added and RBI single to tie the score at 3. The Jets added two more runs in the sixth capped by an RBI single by Amanda Thompson as East Meadow led 5-3.
Ballston Spa’s No. 9 hitter, Alison Sgambati, had a key two-out, RBI double to make it 5-4 in the sixth. Megan McMahon got on base on an error to open the seventh. Stile smashed a line drive close to home-run distance, but foul, earlier in her at-bat before going yard.
Jets senior pitcher Christina Loeffler — who will attend Post University (Conn.) — refused to put her head down after the game, and actually flashed a grin before the customary post-game handshakes between both teams.
“Honestly, all you can do is smile,” said Loeffler, who went six-plus innings and allowed three earned runs with six hits, three strikeouts and two walks. “I still have four more years of college softball. We won two Nassau and Long Island titles, and a state championship last season. As far as today, things happens.”
The Jets graduate Loeffler, Reyes, catcher Sara Polansky (2-for-3) and reserve Sydney Inger.
“I’ll miss those seniors,” said Fritz, who became reflective after the state semifinal loss.
“To me, they’ll always be champions. They kept battling back all season,” Fritz said. “When we were down 3-1, I knew them, and I knew they’d come back.”