Softball: Christina Martinez caps rally; DePaul tops Passaic Valley
Saturday, May 12, 2012
BY TIM LEONARD
WAYNE — Christina Martinez (GOLD) couldn’t stop the tears.
The DePaul catcher had just delivered a run-scoring single in the 10th inning that sent the Spartans to an improbable and emotional 5-4 victory over Passaic Valley in the semifinals of the Passaic County tournament. Of course, Martinez was happy — overjoyed, in fact. But it was plain to see the impact of the win and the 10 innings it took to get there.
“I’m crying for my team and my teammates. This means the world to us,” Martinez said. “It’s big to win like that. You need the whole team to win like that.”
DePaul, the No. 1 seed, will face No. 2 Lakeland in the final today at noon at Wayne Hills. The Spartans haven’t won the tournament since 2004. The Lancers never have won the tournament, which began in 1982.
DePaul is fortunate to be playing today. The Spartans managed to score three runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the score and send the game to extra innings. Even more painful for Passaic Valley, what should have been the last out of the game turned into a run-scoring error.
The game seemed over when DePaul third baseman Ronnie Vergara lifted a high fly ball to the left side of the infield with two out in the seventh and Passaic Valley leading, 4-2. It’s worth noting that just as Vergara swung, a gust of wind blew through the field and continued as the ball descended. A Passaic Valley infielder settled under the ball and somehow dropped it, the ball seeming to go in slow motion as it fell out of her glove.
The error allowed Victoria D’Addario to score, but Passaic Valley still had a 4-3 lead. Shannon Walsh followed with a walk before Natasha Duplain ripped a single to left field to score Vergara.
“Obviously, it’s miserable. We outplayed them for six innings. One lapse and that’s it,” Passaic Valley coach Chris Canning said. “Give them credit.”
Passaic Valley, the No. 5 seed, jumped on DePaul early, scoring twice in the first inning. Jamie Yarrish smacked a two-run triple with two out. The Hornets got another run in the fourth on an error. Passaic Valley made it 4-0 in the fifth. DePaul pitcher Ashley LaGuardia (GOLD) issued three walks around a groundout, and Liz Devenio got the run in with a groundout to second.