Madison softball star helps Lady Knights get revenge against Telecom
The Madison Lady Knights were undefeated last season up until the final game of the year, when the Telecom Yellowjackets beat them in a close game on their own field to ruin their perfect season.
That didn’t sit well with the Lady Knights, which made Tuesday night’s 5-4 victory over Telecom at the Dust Bowl in Brooklyn such sweet revenge. Madison (5-0) now stands as the only undefeated team in the Public School Athletic League’s Brooklyn A division after Telecom fell to 5-1.
“This was the team that took our undefeated title away from us last year, so beating them today was payback and it felt amazing,” Madison’s first baseman Jenna Graffeo said.
The victory showcased Madison’s star — Bella Gerone — who got the win by pitching a complete game while striking out 11, and by hitting a three-run home run.
“That performance was so amazing,” Graffeo said of Gerone. “I’m sitting there, and I’m seeing Bella pitching and my heart is pounding. I want to yell, but I know it’s not proper. She was amazing today.”
Gerone escaped jams in the first and second inning, including one where she struck out Telecom’s captain Susan Gutekunst with runners on base to end the inning. Gerone then put her team up 3-0 in the third inning when she hit a three-run, in-the-park home run that got past centerfielder Emily Bianchino and all the way to the wall.
Bianchino redeemed herself a bit in the fourth when she drove in Laila Melendez to make it 3-1, but Graffeo drove in a pair in the fifth inning to make it 5-1. Those insurance runs turned out to be huge as Telecom scored again in the fifth to make it 5-2 and made it 5-4 in the sixth after Thalia Santiago drove in a pair.
Gerone made the game interesting in the seventh inning when Telecom put runners on second and third with two outs. Madison’s head coach Thomas Mobilia went out to talk to his pitcher, which seemed to settle her down, and Gerone picked up the final out, a strikeout of Ashley Sclafani, for the win.
“I personally like the pressure; I like it more when it’s intense,” Gerone said. “Coach basically said, ‘take a deep breath,’ and told me to slow down what I was doing. I felt like that was needed. It gets a little intense, but I fought through it.”
Mobilia called this the biggest win of the season for Madison. He sounded frustrated when he talked about how many practices and scrimmages the team has lost to bad weather and said he hopes that this win will get the team rolling.
“The weather has hurt our continuity of being out there every day,” Mobilia said. “We had about eight scrimmages that we didn’t get to play, and that hurt the girls. We’re not where we want to be, but this is a stepping stone. They’re a really good team, so we want to build on this.”
Madison lost in the PSAL semifinals last season and sees itself getting back there, or perhaps even further, this year. This week should be a big test, as the team has six games in a row coming up, including a big one on Saturday when they host Fontbonne Hall, the top Catholic school team in Brooklyn.
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