QUEENSBURY, N.Y. -- The Julich family has been well-represented on the Kings Park softball team since 2005. Saturday, the baby sister showed that the family name is in good hands.
First came eldest sister Brittany, who now plays at the University of Rhode Island, and earned Newsday All-Long Island honors as a senior in 2008.
Then came middle sister Jessica, who succeeded Brittany in centerfield, and just finished her freshman season at C.W. Post.
Finally came little sister Paige, who just concluded her first season on varsity and will enable the Julich name to live on in the Kings Park lineup until 2014.
"Being around them made me a better player," Paige said. "We all act the same way on the field, we all have the same attitude."
Despite Kings Park's 1-0 loss to Pittsford Mendon in the state Class A state final Saturday, Paige provided arguably the biggest hit in Julich family history.
Earlier in the day, she had helped Kings Park advance to the title game with a 6-1 semifinal win over top-ranked South Glens Falls by hitting a home run that would have made her older sisters proud.
After Jessica LoBianco led off the first inning with a single up the middle and Nicole Brieva was hit by a pitch, Reina Torlincasi singled to load the bases for Julich, who hit three home runs this season. The freshman shortstop drilled an outside fastball from unbeaten pitcher Maddy Wheeler over the fence in straightaway center for a grand slam as her parents looked on.
"Instead of going on vacations, we were on a softball field," Paige's father Jim said. When asked which of his three daughters is the best softball player, Jim wisely chose the diplomatic answer.
"They're all great," he said with a laugh. "We love them all."
But this season, Paige Julich accomplished something her sisters never did. She won county and Long Island championships and now has a state tournament grand slam on her resume.
"I think they'll secretly be a little jealous," Julich said. "But they'll be happy for me."