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Sage Biamonte's hit a winner for Miller Place

Miller Place's Sage Biamonte gets a hit that

Miller Place's Sage Biamonte gets a hit that put the game out of reach for Mt. Sinai in the top of the sixth. (May 4, 2013) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

As Sage Biamonte was being interviewed after Saturday's game, teammates playfully chanted, "Red hair don't care!"

"Yeah," Biamonte said, chuckling as she pointed to her head, "that's my motto."

It was also the mindset. With the score tied in the sixth inning, runners in scoring position and two outs, the Miller Place sophomore didn't care much that it was a pressure situation.

"I just had a gut feeling I was gonna get a big hit," Biamonte said, "so I was really calm and just waited for my pitch."

The leftfielder lined a 2-and-1 changeup to center for a two-run single, lifting the Panthers to a 9-7 win over rival Mt. Sinai in League VI softball.

"When she got that hit, it was a huge relief," said Jackie Gallagher, who changed up from her signature changeup and utilized the fastball in a scoreless sixth and seventh for the win. "It took a lot of pressure off me."

It also ended a tense, back-and-forth. Miller Place (13-2) rallied from scores of 3-1 and 6-4. The Panthers drew four walks in the fifth and took a 7-6 lead on Tori Carlo's booming sacrifice fly to deep right. The Mustangs answered with Hannah Sullivan's tying RBI single in the bottom of the fifth.

Beth Whitlow's RBI single had tied it at 3 in the third for Miller Place, but a series of errors helped Mt. Sinai (6-8) go back up, 5-3, and eventually 6-4 on Holly Draser's fourth-inning homer over the centerfield fence.

"It shows that we can pull through and that's something we can carry into the playoffs," said centerfielder Taylor Ludewig, who was 3-for-4 with two doubles. "We're a resilient team."

Resilient, too, in overcoming a spate of injuries. Concussions to two catchers has led to third baseman Dominique Soto shifting behind the plate for the last three games. "I had caught a little before in travel ball, but it's an adjustment," said Soto, who calls the pitches. "I've gotten so many bruises just in the short time I've been doing it. But, no regrets. I'm toughing it out."

Still, the Panthers have a half-game lead in first place, ahead of Sayville, whom they'll host Monday.

Ludewig led off the sixth with a double to right-centerfield and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Two outs later, Gallagher walked and stole second, setting up Biamonte, who was 2-for-3 with a walk.

"Since mid-season and down the stretch, Sage has been hitting better and coming up big for us," Panthers coach Danielle Hazen said. "She's been on fire."

In other words: red hot.

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