MIDDLETOWN >> Not even a four-run deficit in the first inning or a one-run deficit in their final at-bats seemed to rattle the Mercy softball team on Tuesday afternoon.
“That’s the thing about this team,” said Mercy co-head coach Ann Drewry. “They’re a very business-like team. They know what they have to do. They’re focused and they do the job.”
Stephanie Dean’s game-winning single capped a two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh as Mercy edged Shelton, 8-7, in an SCC thriller at Tigers Field.
“It was a great feeling to finally get that last run,” said Dean. “Of course there is a little bit of pressure but I knew my team trusted me and that’s a big part of it.”
Trailing 7-6, Tiffany Mangiameli, who went 3-for-4, started the winning rally with a perfect drag bunt.
“That was clutch,” said Drewry. “Tiffany has really stepped up in the two-spot this year and that really changes the game a lot for us.”
Mangiameli stole second and reached third on Stephanie Mangiameli’s ground out. Madison DeRita then ripped a grounder to short and Mangiameli slid home ahead of the throw from Gaels shortstop Sam Woods to tie it at 7.
Juliana DellaCamera’s sacrifice bunt moved DeRita to second and Dean followed with a single to right as DeRita raced home with the winning run.
“We heard Mercy was very tough and we just came out and tried our hardest against them,” said Shelton coach Joann Desrochers, now in her 23rd season. “Mercy’s fast and it was their speed that was the difference.”
Shelton grabbed a 4-0 lead in the first on a grand slam homer from senior Kendall Hansen.
The Gaels also led 5-1 before Mercy rallied for five runs in the third against junior pitcher Kaysee Talcik. The Tigers got six hits, including a two-run triple from Stephanie Mangiameli, and took a 6-5 advantage.
But Shelton (3-8) regained the lead in the fifth. Gina Ciambrello doubled and scored on an infield error and Arianna Berardi’s RBI single put the Geals ahead 7-6.
“We just kept working,” said Desrochers. “It didn’t fall our way but I was proud of the way we played today.”
Astin Donovan, DellaCamera and Dean each had two hits, while Brianna Sawicki earned the pitching win in relief of Mary Adametz as the Tigers (7-2) captured their sixth straight win.
“The thing that we capitalize on the most is that we fight to never give up and we never settle to be down,” added Drewry. “It’s just nice to see when the big hits come through at the right time and thankfully that happened for us today.”