SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. - Maddie Recker’s final varsity outing was one for the record books.
When the Sayville senior pitcher took the circle in a Class A state softball semifinal game Saturday morning, she understood the need to be at her best. What she wasn’t prepared for was how long she would need to stay like that.
Recker pitched 14 innings, exiting with the score tied at 1, before Ballston Spa defeated Sayville, 2-1, in 20 innings in a nearly five-hour contest at Moreau Recreational Park. She knew every pitch she tossed following the seventh inning could be her final varsity throw, but she was determined to keep the Golden Flashes’ season alive.
“Coach just kept saying to me, ‘I want us back in here to hit,’ ” Recker said. “So I wasn’t thinking about what inning it was. It was just trying to treat it as another game and keep it going.”
The 20-inning contest was the longest softball game in a state semifinal or championship, softball state coordinator Cathy Allen said.
“We were having fun,” Sayville coach Tiffany Rowan said. “We were joking, really trying to take advantage of every moment, every second that we could be up here. We basically played three games and the fight they had was unbelievable.”
Ballston Spa (21-3) scored the winning run when Ana Gold’s single over the third base bag drove in Megan McMahon with one out in the 20th inning. The hit came off Marissa Dionisio, who had tossed five innings of scoreless relief entering the 20th inning.
Sayville (24-2) struggled to generate much offense against Lauren Kersch, who pitched all 20 innings for Ballston Spa. The Golden Flashes didn’t get a runner on base until Brooke Scheibe was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning, and they were hitless until the 12th inning when Mallory Kinahan doubled. Sayville finished with seven hits. Kersch struck out 18, allowed no walks and hit two batters.
“That team was very good,” Rowan said. “The pitcher threw very well and we were trying different things in the box and she was pretty dominating.”
Scheibe wound up scoring in the eighth. After a sacrifice bunt by Kylie Buck, Ballston Spa attempted to throw behind Scheibe at second base, but the throw went into the outfield and Scheibe scored for a 1-0 Sayville lead.
Ballston Spa tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth on Angelina Stile's two-out homer over the centerfield fence.
But that would be the only run off Recker, who battled through 14 innings surrendering seven hits with no walks and eight strikeouts. Recker, who was recovering from offseason surgery on her non-throwing shoulder entering the year, was also sharp in the Long Island Class A championship, allowing one run in seven innings.
“Our running joke was, ‘You don’t need to be ready March 17, I need you to be ready May 17,’ ” Rowan said. “And little did I know, she needed to be at her best by basically June 17.”
And Recker was willing to let that “best” ride out as long as she was in the circle.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game, but I didn’t think it would go 20 innings or however long it went,” Recker said. “I lost count.”