THIELLS, N.Y.— The 2016 North Salem Tigers granted 37-year coach Bob Mittelstadt his wish on Friday, May 27 with a 17-5 destruction of the fourth-seeded Haldane Blue Devils in the Section 1 Class C title game at North Rockland High School.
“I told them that I did it 10 years ago here and that I wanted to do it again,” Mittelstadt said. “I had a picture that I brought to practice on Friday. I said, ‘I need this updated. It’s old and I promise you it’ll be worth your while that if you get in this picture, I’ll go bananas and make a (fool) out of myself for you.’”
Mittelstadt raised his arm in the air with the team’s plaque and shouted with excitement to the girls during a pouring sun-shower. He can now have another special picture to glance at every day on the shelf on the “man cave” in his home.
“I see it every day,” Mittelstadt said. “I remember it very well, there’s not a question about that. Now this is a special group and we’re on a special ride.”
Mittelstadt took the girls out for ice-cream at nearby Hoyer’s of Haverstraw to celebrate the school’s first section title in 11 years.
Anastasia Pennacchio tossed another complete game and knocked in three runs at the dish. The SUNY Albany-bound senior stepped away from the post game celebration at first while holding her jersey to her mouth.
“Coming off (the mound), I was like, ‘Oh man, it’s over,’” Pennacchio said. “It just didn’t register I guess until I was really off the field.”
Pennacchio has been second-seeded North Salem’s go-to girl on the hill, as she finally gets to experience the thrill of capturing a section championship after the Tigers fell in the semifinals for two years straight.
“This has been my goal ever since I was freshman,” said Pennacchio, who doubled home a pair of runs in the fourth. “So just coming here today and achieving it senior year is just incredible.”
North Salem bludgeoned the ball early and often just like in their semifinal against Alexander Hamilton. The Tigers hopped out to a 7-1 lead in the second inning after catcher Casey Harmon crushed a two-run single up the gut.
“What we’re trying to do is jump on a team quick so that we don’t give them any chance,” Mittelstadt said. “We are a hitting club, that’s been our mantra all year. We got great pitching from Anastasia, so that’s the equation that you have to have.”
Sophomore third baseman Alina DiMella went 2 for 4 and tripled home a run in the fifth to make it 12-3 in the bottom of fifth.
Senior first baseman Livia Dworaczyk shellacked a three-run triple to extend the bat heavy Tigers to a 12-run lead. North Salem only struck out three times all day against a shaky Haldane defense.
“Since the beginning of the season we definitely have been making more contact,” said Dworaczyk, a captain. “Today was great because the more contact that we made, the more errors they had because they would get nervous about trying to make plays. It boosted our confidence way up.”
Junior Maggie Boardman singled home Dworaczyk and Boardman was brought home by a single from senior Dominique DeAngelis to cap off the scoring for the Tigers.
North Salem has grown significantly in terms of fundamentals this season to achieve the section title after starting out just 2-6.
“That’s been the main thing that we’ve worked on since day one,” Mittelstadt said. “Bringing on 13 new players (12 sophomores and one freshman) was a real treat and it took awhile for us to make it work. It wasn’t until we beat Haldane twice in the regular season that we turned things around.”
North Salem will play take on Section 9 champion Pine Plains at Rhinebeck High School on Thursday, June 2 at 3 p.m. in the regional semifinals
“This was not an easy road,” Mittelstadt said. “We had a lot of days where we were scratching our heads. But we did it. We’re the champions and it’s forever.”