By MIKE SMITH
On June 25, Harrison’s 11/12-year-old softball squad won the District 20 title, beating a game Eastchester club in extra-innings.
With the 5-4 win, Harrison moved on to represent District 20 in the first round of Sectionals, which kicked off on June 29.
After six innings, Eastchester and Harrison were knotted at three runs apiece before a big eighth inning helped the Huskies get out to a two-run lead; one they wouldn’t relinquish.
With two outs and runners on second and third, Harrison second baseman Katie Dragone made a backhanded stab up the middle and tossed to first for the out, cementing the win for Harrison, which earned the right to play Wappingers Falls on Sunday.
“In 20 years of coaching, both boys and girls, this was the most exciting game I’ve ever been a part of,” Harrison coach Bob Day said. “We made some sparkling plays on defense to win this one.”
Harrison was also buoyed by some strong pitching efforts as starter Tamara Day pitched six innings of three-run ball before giving way to reliever Mia Harris, who surrendered just one run in three innings of work.
“Our pitching was key for us,” Day said after the game. “We took out Tamara because if you pitch seven innings you can’t come back to pitch the next game, but Mia was a rock for us and did a great job facing the meat of their order.”
Harrison got good pitching all tournament long as they ran through the rest of the district without a loss to their name. The Huskies beat Eastchester in the tournament opener 9-0 before playing a couple close games down the stretch, which included a 4-3 semifinal win on the strength of a game-ending triple from Dragone.
“Our strength was pitching and defense and, up to the last two games, we’d been hitting well too,” Day said.
Bob Day feels Harrison’s ability to win close games will prove an asset in the sectional tournament, when the team squares off against the area’s top hurlers.
“Pitching is the key to winning in girls softball,” he said. “If you don’t have the pitching at this level, you’re not going to go very far.”
Day said the Wednesday win was especially important for Harrison given the burgeoning rivalry with Eastchester. This particular group of Harrison players has moved on from District 20 play each of the last three years.
“A few years ago, Eastchester kind of dominated,” he said. “But for the last three years, we’ve been able to beat them, to win the district, so the girls were ecstatic.”