It felt like a title game.
James Madison grabbed a big-time, regular-season victory on April 28, taking down Construction 11–10 in nine innings, a preview of what, likely, could be the city championship game.
It wasn’t easy — the contest was filled with offensive ups and downs on both sides — but the Golden Knights held on down the stretch, and in the process grabbed a bit of late-spring confidence.
“The main thing for us was just to chip away and take each at-bat one at a time,” Madison coach Danielle Moresca said. “The moment we get a runner on, our team gains momentum, and today we were able to chip away enough to win”
Madison wrapped up the victory with an offensive explosion in the top of the ninth, plating four runs early in the frame. But the Red Hawks didn’t go down without a fight. Construction answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning and put the tying run on base before running out of offensive steam.
In the end, the Golden Knights got just enough offense. Senior shortstop Taylor Trim collected three hits and scored five runs, while outfielder Valerie Horton and first baseman Melissa Cayetano had two hits each. But it was Marian Moran’s single past a drawn-in infield with the game tied in the top of the ninth that broke open the contest for the Golden Knights.
“I was just trying to help my team out, because together, as a team we can win and achieve so much,” said Moran, who also starred in the field, snagging two line drives in the top of the eighth that prevented Construction from scoring.
On the mound, freshman Alyssa Curiale tossed a complete game for Madison. Construction challenged Curiale throughout the afternoon, but could keep her from going the distance.
“[The bottom of the ninth] was a little nerve-wracking, but I was able to keep my composure and told myself that the only way I was going to get through this was to just breathe, relax, and focus,” said Curiale, who had thrown five innings in the Golden Knights’ previous game.
Construction coach Marco Migliaccio conceded it was Madison’s day to emerge victorious, and now is simply hoping for a rematch.
“Every time we play Madison it ends up being a good game, so we aren’t feeling discouraged,” Migliaccio said. “We do a lot of bunting running and slashing, and they did a good job taking that away from us.”
There was plenty of late-game dramatics, but Madison couldn’t help but be pleased with its effort from start to finish and, most importantly, its presence at the plate.
“Without our hitters the game would have been a mercy,” Curiale said. “That made the difference.”
If the Golden Knights can keep hitting, the team is certain it can make a deep postseason run, and vie to get back to the top of the softball heap in the city.