The bases loaded with one out and a tie score in extra innings isn’t exactly a position most pitchers want to find themselves in. Taylor Eggert isn’t most pitchers.
The Kings Park senior was right where she’s most comfortable -- in a high-stakes scenario. It’s where Eggert believes she does her best work, and the results backed that up Monday.
“I say it all the time, pressure is my best friend,” Eggert said. “I love pressure situations, which I think sets me apart from other pitchers, who may fear it. I love getting in those situations.”
With the score tied at 1 and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, Eggert fielded a ground ball and threw the lead runner out at home, followed up with a strikeout to pitch Kings Park out of trouble. The Kingsmen then scored four runs in the 10th inning in their first game of the season, as Kings Park defeated host Hauppauge, 5-2, in Suffolk IV softball Monday afternoon.
With the following frame beginning with the international tiebreaker rule, which puts a runner on second base to begin the inning and is implemented starting in the 10th inning, Lexie O’Brien’s single to drive in Grace Heim gave Kings Park a 2-1 advantage.
Sarah Robertson followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in O’Brien, then a two-run single from Alyssa Sticco to drive in Sydney Sugrue and Maddie DiSalvo gave the Kingsmen a 5-1 lead.
Eggert closed the game from there, finishing with 18 strikeouts and allowing six hits over 10 innings. She even started the game with three strikeouts and had a four-strikeout frame in the fifth inning.
“I’ve had my bag packed for this game since last Sunday, I think,” Eggert said. “I just couldn’t wait to get on this field, in the circle, and start the season off with this team.”
After Sticco’s RBI single in the third inning resulted in the game's first run, Giuliana Abruscato’s solo home run in the sixth inning tied the score at 1.
But the Kingsmen stuck together through a slow offensive start, finishing the game with key hit after key hit.
“Moments like this when we’re in extra innings and the international tiebreaker, it’s really good that we have each other’s backs,” Robertson said. “We keep our minds in the game.”
Starting with Eggert, who had 273 strikeouts, averaging nearly 12 per game last year.
“She’s our ace, she’s the diamond in the rough and as you see when things need to get more tenacious, she gets more tenacious,” coach Kim McGinley said. “She has the grit, which you don’t see much anymore, and she comes in and does the job.”