By Mike Zummo
Pine Bush was down heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, but they weren’t out.
Trailing by three runs, Pine Bush rallied for four runs with McKenzie Conley delivering walk-off single up the middle, scoring McKenzie Castro, giving Pine Bush a 5-4 win and the District 19 Minor softball championship on Friday at Pine Bush Town Park.
“They make me so nervous, but if anyone could do it, they could,” Pine Bush manager Mary Flynn said. “They worked hard all season and really had a good showing in all-stars. I’m so proud.”
Flynn admitted to feeling nervous before her team came to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning, three outs away from possibly having to come back to the field Saturday morning to play a decisive championship game.
But it wasn’t to be.
Ashlyn Mazurowski led off with a walk, and then with one out, Julie Gabriele and Madison Joerger reached on infield singles to load the bases.
Chester also struggled defensively as Joerger’s hit was a slow roller to first base that no one was able to field on time, and then Chester pitcher Aryianna Gambino had the ball ahead of Mazurowski trying to score on a wild pitch. But Gambino didn’t apply the tag and Mazurowski scored Pine Bush’s second run.
After Castro walked, Courtney Flynn singled home Gabriele with a run and then Joerger came around to score on the throw to pull Pine Bush to within a run to tie the game at 4-4, setting up Conley’s winning single.
“I was very nervous as anyone I think would be, but extra nervous that we were at home,” coach Flynn said.
“We’ve got the fans and just not wanting to have to come back for the second game, and they pulled through.”
Chester scored single runs in the first and third innings and scored two in the fourth.
Courtney Flynn generated a run in the third inning, singling to right field. Then she stole second and took third when the throw went into center field. Then she scored when the throw to third went to the fence.
The win completes a bit of a sweep for Pine Bush on the softball side of Little League as Pine Bush won the district championship in every division in which they entered a softball team.
The Majors won District championship on June 24; the seniors won their title on Wednesday. Pine Bush didn’t place a team in the Junior division.
“It’s incredible,” Flynn said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime feeling. I’m so proud of all the Pine Bush girls in all the levels. We have such talent. I’m glad we could make a strong showing this year.”
Pine Bush didn’t get much time to rest as they were scheduled to face Division 20 champion Eastchester at Watts Park in Middletown in the Section 3 tournament. New City was waiting for the winner on Monday and the championship game is scheduled for Wednesday.
“We’re looking to ride on the excitement and the success and bring that with us to sections in a few days and keeping a strong showing for Pine Bush.”