The was in fine form over the weekend as it took on Herricks at the playing fields, but competition hardly figured into the equation. Instead, the focus was all about community, as the teams played to raise money for the American Cancer Society
Still, at the top of the sixth and final inning, Herricks was already leading Port Washington 6-0, and a runner on third with just one out was poised to make it 7. Herricks had built its lead with aggressive base running, and it was not letting up in the final frame.
When its batter connected with a high fly ball to right, it appeared easily deep enough to score the run. But Port right fielder Genevieve Bellon proved otherwise. Catching the ball, she was already in her throwing motion, and delivered a strike to catcher Jackie Avila, who dropped her glove onto the sliding cleats of Herrick’s Kerry Brew to complete the double-play and end the inning.
After the game, Bellon said, “It’s always nice to make a nice play for the team. They’ve always been there for me, so something like that is good to get the morale up.”
The sparkling double-play was certainly the on-field highlight for Port on Saturday afternoon, but the bigger highlight was the event itself: a two-game softball exhibition called Strike Out Cancer organized by Port to benefit the American Cancer Society. Port coach Eric Sutz worked to put it together.
“I’m proud to be part of this great group of girls, and we wanted to do something meaningful,” he said.
To that end, he included his junior varsity players on the roster, made sure everybody got a chance to bat, and also worked with the (PYA) to organize a 12-and-under game. The event raised about $1,200, Sutz said.
Those younger girls played in the second game of the exhibition, and Port defeated Herricks by the score of approximately 9-4. The delightful part of that game was how the girls truly treated it as an exhibition – playing with intensity, but having fun and not worrying about details like the number of runs scored. After the game, one Port player shrugged when asked which team had won. The thought apparently hadn’t even occurred to her. In one inning – nobody was really keeping track of which inning was which – Rebecca Katz drilled a line-drive RBI double to center right, stole third, and then scored on a base hit.
Mary Cavallaro, whose daughter plays for Port, added, “Thanks to the girls varsity softball team for organizing this event, and thanks to the PYA for bringing in the 12-and-under teams. What a great event.”
Cavallaro turned her attention to the girls on the field. The game was over, and the players from both teams were running the bases and having a great time. “They’re a nice group of kids,” she said. “Some of them have been together for three or four years, and they just like getting out on the field.”