In a game where the Kingston Tigers tagged Newburgh Free Academy pitcher Brittany Drake for three solo home runs, it was Drake who had the final word.
With two on in the bottom of the sixth home run, Drake drilled a three-run home run, lifting the Goldbacks to a 5-4 Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association Division I win at NFA North.
“It felt good to know that I can do it too,” Drake said. “It was good to come back and get ahead that way.”
With her team leading 3-2, Kingston pitcher Angela Van Pelt walked Julia Di Spigna and Brittney Garcia to start the bottom of the sixth inning, causing Kingston coach Trishann Hayes to bring Lauren Shambo to the circle.
Drake drilled the first pitch she saw over the center field fence, giving the Goldbacks (8-1, 7-1 OCIAA) the decisive runs.
“It kept our team moving,” Drake said. “It made our team want to win it. It motivated us.”
Drake finished the game by working around a solo home run by Jillian McManus.
“She’s a competitive person,” Newburgh coach Luke Pereira said. “She’ll fight you. She will give up a home run every now and then because she doesn’t want to walk you, maybe she’ll come in a little too good or whatever, but when she has to, she gets the job done.”
Before Thursday, the Goldbacks hadn’t played in nine days and constant rain forced them either inside the gymnasium or onto the turf football field.
“It’s been awful,” Pereira said. “We were on the turf Wednesday. We were able to be outside, but being in the gym was getting old. Everyone’s in the same boat. There’s nothing you can really do short of playing on a turf field. Our field was in great shape today.”
It also caused a great deal of reshuffling in the schedule as Thursday’s game was a make-up from Monday. But for the Goldbacks, getting a game in and pulling out a comeback win was a nice way to return to the field after a long layoff.
“It felt so good (to get out and play a game),” Drake said. “Honestly, I’d rather play games than practice. I’d rather get dirty, pitch, slide and play the game.”
By Mike Zummo