The Rizzi twins made it happen for Eastport South Manor.
Marissa Rizzi's triple in the top of the sixth drove in her sister Christina Rizzi as first-seeded Eastport-South Manor defeated seventh-seeded Sachem East, 1-0, in the Suffolk Class AA softball finals Friday. The win forces a second game between both teams at 2 p.m. Saturday at Eastport-South Manor.
The Sharks' loss to Patchogue-Medford earlier in the double-elimination tournament, pushing them into the losers' bracket, required them to beat Sachem East (19-5) twice for the Suffolk Class AA championship.
Marissa said she's always envisioned driving in her sister. "I thought to myself I'm getting this run in right now, I need this run," she said. "And then we did it."
Marissa didn't just dominate at bat, but on the mound, as well. She pitched a complete-game shutout, striking out six batters and allowing only four hits and no walks for ESM (22-2). Marissa has posted an ERA of 0.39 and is batting .550 on the season.
"Marissa's been a huge part of this team, both as a pitcher and as our top hitter," coach Laura Ward said. "She encourages her teammates and the chemistry just works so well."
Team chemistry is a key component to the Sharks' success. "We're like a loving family; every day we're together, whether we're at practice or not," Marissa said.
Marissa went 2-for-3 with an RBI to drive in the sole run for the Sharks, and Christina went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored.
Sachem East's Jamie Butalewicz pitched a solid game, as well, allowing only six hits and striking out eight. Third baseman Amanda Fitzgerald made a diving catch in the top of the fifth and threw to first to double up a baserunner.
Going into their final game, Christina Rizzi is confident.
"This game definitely gives us momentum going into tomorrow, we know how the pitcher is now," she said.
Marissa remained poised on the mound with the help of her sister behind the plate. "I have all my trust in Christina," she said. "I trust her to call the right pitches and everything."