Washington Nips Central For Softball Title

Posted: May 31, 1997

It was the bottom of the seventh, the game tied, two outs flashing on the scoreboard, and the Public League title waiting to be claimed when Washington cleanup hitter Aimee Ley stood in the batter's box and took two deep breaths.

The senior felt the weight of the championship upon her.

She had been too quick to swing before, making her hits easy work for the poised Central infield. Then came her fourth at-bat in the heart of the game while her teammates stood by their bench with their fingers crossed at their sides. The senior took her time and swung.

Ley hit a line drive into right field to score Lisa Bradley from second and lift defending champion Washington over Central, 3-2, in the Public League softball championship game yesterday at Holy Family.

It was the eighth title for Washington (13-2) and its third of the 1990s. Central, making its first championship appearance in the nine-year history of the sport at the school, closed at 10-6.

``I counted to four and swung and hoped I would get a hit,'' said Ley, a Rider signee. ``The pitcher knew how to kick it to us.''

Central's Lydia Zetick (who finished with three strikeouts and two walks) pitched four no-hit innings backed by the deft defense of senior third baseman Penni Winberg, who made some impressive grabs along the line, including one in the fifth inning that held a runner at third and protected Central's 1-0 lead.

Central jumped ahead in the first inning when junior Paula Smith (2 for 3, two triples, two RBIs) tripled over the centerfielder to score leadoff batter Chrissy Bianco.

In the fifth, Washington countered, going ahead, 2-1, with a four-hit rally sparked by freshman Dana Koppel's single, which dropped in front of Central's outfielders. She came home on a grounder by Bradley into center field, and Nicole Conroy scored on an RBI single by Misty Drasher.

Central tied the game, 2-2, in the sixth inning when Smith sent a drive to deep center field and scored Manon Greenberg, who had singled. Central coach Frank Greco waived Smith home, but Washington senior catcher Drasher moved up to receive the throw and tagged Smith before she could slide or step on the plate.

``I rolled the dice by waiving Paula on,'' Greco said. ``We might have had a different game if I had stopped her at third.''

Washington senior pitcher Barbara Hill held Central to a single in the top of the seventh and collected her fourth strikeout of the inning to bring the Eagles up for their final at-bats.

``They pulled their batters up in the end, and we were stuck,'' Central's Winberg said. ``We were comfortable leading early in the game. We thought we had them.''

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