A disputed call proved to be a backbreaker for Rye Neck on June 4, when a called ball on an 0-2 pitch ended up resulting in a two-out, three-run rally for Marlboro High School. It was exactly what the Iron Dukes would need to pull out a 4-3 win over the Panthers in the Class B regional semifinals at Rhinebeck High School.
The Panthers were already walking towards the dugout in the top of the second inning when senior hurler Diana King’s offering was called a ball and Marlboro’s Cassie Lapointe stepped back into the batters box. Lapointe would respond by smacking a two run triple to break a 1-1 tie two pitches later. She would eventually come around to score Marlboro’s fourth—and final—run of the day.
The Panthers would climb back into the game, scoring twice in the sixth inning, but they couldn’t overcome the Iron Dukes’ outburst.
Freshman Olivia Dunne led Rye Neck at the plate, notching its first RBI in the first inning by singling in King and doubling in the third run of the game during the Panthers’ sixth inning rally.
Marlboro would go on to defeat Babylon in the Regional Finals on June 6 to earn a trip to the Class B state semifinals.
Despite the disappointing end to their season, the Panthers had plenty to be happy about this spring. They finished with a 22-3 record and captured their first section title since 2002 with a win over rival Valhalla on May 30.
Rye Neck’s play this year earned the team a haul of postseason awards as well. Joan Spedafino was named the League 3-C Coach of the Year, senior Nicole Miller was selected to the Diamond Nine Plus One team, and three Panther players, King, Samantha Yanuzzi and Shannon Liguori, took home All-Section Honors.
Spedafino could not be reached for comment as of press time.
-Reporting by Mike Smith