THIELLS, N.Y.— After losing to Pearl River in last year’s Section 1 Class A championship game, the Lakeland softball squad’s goal was to take care of unfinished business this spring.
No. 3-seeded Lakeland did just that, defeating No. 5 Eastchester 15-5 to win the Section 1 Class A softball championship at North Rockland on May 27, the Hornets’ first since 1984, thus making good on their “unfinished business” motto.
“The girls came up with that because of making the run last year, getting here and not being able to win and being so close,” Lakeland coach Joe Chiara said. “That was one of the sayings they had, right from day one when we first started practicing and had our first meeting. The goal was to get back here and win a Section 1 title. Today we were able to do that.”
Hornet senior Cameron Lischinsky hit for the cycle in a 5 for 5 afternoon which included scoring four times. She blasted a two-run homer to right field in the sixth inning that put the Hornets up 15-3.
“I was just thinking, ‘Oh my god, I just hit a home run here.’ This is a far fence, I was proud of myself,” Lischinsky said. “But it was just like the score was already up. Claire Fon did it for us first. It was nice to add that but Claire really did it well for us in the beginning.”
As Lischinsky alluded to, Fon did plenty of damage herself, going 3 for 4 with six RBI, including a grand slam in the fourth that went well over the 230-foot sign in center field that broke the game open, making it 11-0.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Fon said. “As I was rounding third all my teammates were surrounding home and were cheering for me. That’s the best feeling ever. It’s unimaginable to be able to contribute to the team in this way. I can’t wait to move on to bigger and better things.”
The hitting exploits of Lischinsky and Fon helped make a winner out of senior pitcher and captain Colleen Walsh, who went the distance, striking out eight.
“Everyone knows that last year we lost in the section final,” Walsh said. “It was probably one of the worst feelings as a team that we felt. So this year it was our complete mission before the season, before we even had our preseason meeting, that winning the sectional title was our goal for the whole season and that’s what we worked toward.”
Lakeland won 4-3 at No. 2 Brewster in a nine-inning semifinal affair on May 24.
Lischinsky hit what turned out to be the game-winning RBI single, a dribbler up the middle, which drove in Amber Lopez, in the top of the ninth.
“Amber was on second and honestly I wasn’t sure if the hit was going to go through the pitcher and infield,” Lischinsky said. “But once it did and I realized the run scored I was really happy and thrilled.”
Walsh (two earned runs, seven hits, three strikeouts) earned the win against Brewster. Recording two-hit games for Lakeland were Walsh (2 for 5, run, RBI), Lopez (2 for 4, 2 runs), Amber Badillo (2 for 5) and Olivia Knopf (2 for 4, RBI).
Lakeland (23-1) defeated visiting No. 6 Hendrick Hudson 15-0 in the quarterfinals on May 23, with Walsh (11 strikeouts, 2 hits) hurling the shutout.
Leading the offensive barrage were sisters, senior captain Amber Badillo (4 for 5, 2 runs, 1 RBI) and freshman Krystal Badillo (3 for 4, 3 runs, 4 RBI, homer).
“I couldn’t be more proud of how well my sister did today,” Amber Badillo said. “She is an outstanding softball player and I know when I graduate she is going to do more great things.”
Fon (3 for 3, 2 runs, 3 RBI, homer), Lopez (2 for 4, 1 run, 3 RBI, homer) and Knopf (2 for 4, 2 runs, 3 RBI, homer) also produced.