Katie Cristiano, Fox Lane’s senior catcher, remembers it clearly. Fox Lane lost to John Jay in a one-run game last season, and the Foxes were looking for redemption against one of their rivals when the calendar turned to 2022.
Fox Lane was able to find what it was seeking when the Foxes recorded a 15-6 win over the host Wolves on April 30 at JayFest.
“Last year was such a hard loss for us,” Cristiano said. “We fought so hard for that game and we still lost, so to come here and start off strong, and then end strong, that was really huge."
Fox Lane built a 7-2 lead, but the Wolves answered with a two-run single from Ava Kersh to cut the Foxes’ edge to 7-4. Maya Nelsen roped a liner to Fox Lane senior shortstop Quoya Schnell, who made the catch and fired to first for the double play as Kersh was caught off the bag.
The Foxes’ Jordynn Killion laced a double to start the fifth inning and was later driven in on a sacrifice fly by Sydney Hurwitz to make it 8-4.
“This was our best game of the whole season,” Fox Lane first-year head coach ToniAnn Licata said. “It’s taken a lot of time to get to this point, but I think they really just rallied together today and worked together as a team. I’m really proud of them.”
She continued, “This game was very important to them. I know I’m new this year, but all week they’ve been telling me this is the game they had to win.”
John Jay answered with a run when Ashley Buatte doubled and scored after a few errors from the Foxes to make it 8-5 after five innings.
Whenever the Wolves crept closer, the Foxes’ offense responded to pad their lead. Schnell and Gabby Naar started the sixth inning with singles and Grace Cleveland walked to load the bases. Two runs scored on an error on a hit by Lyla Loria to stretch the lead to 10-5. Killion’s RBI single made it 11-5 while Hurwitz’s two-run single stretched the advantage to 13-5.
“It was so important not to think ‘big hits’ — just singles,” Schnell said. “For everyone to get up to the plate and think, ‘All right, let me just get a hit and get on base.’ We had to just keep the momentum going.”
John Jay loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning with no outs. Cristiano made a mound visit to pitcher Hurwitz and she quickly induced a pop out. A run scored on a force at second base, and Cristiano gunned out Nelsen trying to steal to end the inning.
Licata and assistant coach Anthony Rodrigues “talked to Katie behind the plate,” Licata said. “I was very close to going out there to talk to Sydney because I knew she was getting a little rattled. Having Katie go out there and calm her down and tell her to take her time and just focus on the batters, really got us out of that jam.”
Cristiano was proud of Hurwitz for working her way out of the tight spot.
“Syd really has a great mentality,” Cristiano said. “She stays pretty calm, very happy and she’s very positive on the mound. I think there was a moment she felt a little overwhelmed, but I’m happy that we were able to talk it out and we weren’t overwhelmed.”
Hannah Getman put the ball in play and a run scored on an error and she later scored on a wild pitch to add to the lead for the Foxes in the top of the seventh.
Hurwitz, who finished with four RBI at the plate, closed out the win with a pop out and a ground out as the Foxes’ celebration commenced.
Also contributing to the big day at the plate for Fox Lane were Getman (2 hits, 3 steals), Killion (2 hits, RBI, 2 steals), Cristiano (2 hits), Victoria Bodine (2 hits, RBI), Schnell (3 for 5, RBI), Naar (3 for 5, RBI), Cleveland (hit) and Loria (RBI).
It was a big win for the Foxes, who have played a grueling schedule and have had an up and down season under new head coach Licata.
“It feels really special,” Schnell said of the victory. “We’ve kind of had a rough season, not only in terms of our record, but there’s definitely been games where some tension has come between the team. To have a win like this kind of solidifies our bond and it makes it easier to all work together as a team.”
It was a tough week for the Wolves as they lost to host Mahopac 11-2 to start things off on April 27.
The next day, they defeated visiting Walter Panas in a 14-10 slugfest. Kersh (4 for 4, 3 RBI, 3 steals), Buatte (3 for 4, 2 RBI), Carolina Cerna (2 hits, 3 RBI) and Emma Klares (3 RBI) sparked the Wolves.
John Jay improved to 7-8 with an 18-3 six-inning win over visiting Horace Greeley on May 2. Eva Falino (3 hits, triple) and Klares (2 doubles) led the offense. Klares gave up three earned runs over five innings to get the win while Olivia Blank closed out the game in the sixth.
Jay has a busy schedule to conclude the regular season. The Wolves were scheduled to host Brewster on May 5, travel to North Salem for a 3 p.m. game tomorrow, Saturday, May 7 and head to Somers for a game Monday, May 9, at 4:30 p.m. They close the season by hosting Mahopac (May 11) and Yorktown (May 13).
Fox Lane fell to White Plains 21-2 in five innings April 28. Hurwitz (RBI single), Cristiano (double) and Killion (hit) led the team.
The Foxes defeated Port Chester 11-7 on May 3, to improve to 6-9.
Fox Lane hosts Somers at Friday, May 6, at 5 p.m., then welcomes New Rochelle at the same time on Monday, May 9. They then take on White Plains again on May 10 and close out the season by traveling to Port Chester on May 12.
“Honestly, I think our mentality is such a big thing,” Schnell said of the key to closing out the regular season on a high note. “We’ve just got to win, keep up the energy and keep picking up our teammates.”
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