Long Island Pride pitcher Maddy Silecchia prepares to fire a pitch to the plate at Finch’s Invitational.
By Will Harrigan
The Connecticut Lightning Gold 14U has a very deep lineup.
Everyone on the Greater Hartford-based squad seems to have a knack for putting the ball in play, where anything can happen. The team’s three-hitter and shortstop, Cienna McNamara, went on a rampage with her bat.
McNamara homered, doubled, singled, and drove in three runs along the way, and her brilliant day helped CT Lightning Gold 14U (Wright) take a 6-4 victory over Long Island Pride 14U Martinez in the Jennie Finch Spring Invitational on Saturday evening at Diamond Nation.
“I had a really good game and I am happy we won. I was just waiting for the right pitch to come in, and I swung as hard as I could when I got them,” McNamara said.
After falling behind 2-0, CT Lightning went right to work erasing their deficit.
Ava Pearson led off the rally with an infield single to get aboard, which was promptly followed by a single off the bat of Olivia Gombotz. McNamara then launched a deep grounds rule double to left field to bring in Pearson and cut the deficit to 2-1.
Jordan McCue then got aboard on an infield single to load the bases, setting up a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ava Satz that leveled things up at 2-2.
Two batters later, Sophie Tetreault would be struck by a pitch to extend the lead to 4-2. During that at bat, a wild pitch allowed McCue to come home.
An inning later and with a runner on – Pearson had reached on a rare 9-6 fielder’s choice – McNamara got up again and launched a home run over the left field fence to make it 6-2.
“I wasn’t sure it would get over, but I was so happy when it did,” McNamara added.
Meanwhile, the Long Island Pride had some potent bats of their own that were on full display in this one.
In the top of the first, Pride catcher Martina Stannish laced a ball into the right-center field gap that went all the way to the wall. Stannish hustled her way to an inside-the-park home run to put her squad up 2-0 early.
Trailing late, the Pride attempted to make a comeback.
They would chip away and get one back in the fourth, when three-hitter Lexi Zaremba singled in Makayla Martinez, who doubled a batter earlier. Martinez finished 2-for-2, making strong contact each time up.
Trailing 6-3 going into their final at bat, the Pride would plate another run. Third baseman Jorjia Domingo would single to get aboard with no outs. Two batters later, she would be driven home by Maddy Silecchia to cut the deficit to 6-4.
Tetreault, who pitched a complete game for the Lightning, would recover to get the next two batters out to extinguish the rally.
The Lightning went a stellar 3-0 on the day, dispatching NW Explosion 7-2 in their first game, and demolishing the NJ Vipers by a 15-0 count in their nightcap.
Long Island Pride – making its debut in this game – went onto drop a 6-5 heartbreaker to NJ Pride 14K, but salvaged an 18-1 pasting of the Mass. Renegades in their nightcap.
Both teams will compete in the playoffs today. The Lightning is the No. 4 seed so draws a bye through the first round, taking the field for its first playoff game at 12:40. The Pride is seeded 18th and opens its championship bid at 11 a.m.
Hello Will Harrigan, thank you for taking the time too hang with us for a game and for your thoughtful column. CT Lightning had a great time at Diamond Nation. Your DN team always puts on top notch events. Looking forward to returning! Maybe our paths with cross…be well and stay safe.