Big inning leads Freeport over Malverne

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Malverne put Freeport's perfect league record to the test before the Lady Red Devils bats erupted.

Freeport broke open a tie game with 10 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning en-route to an 18-7 home crossover win last Friday against the Lady Mules of Conference ABC-VII. Malverne had knotted the score at 7-7 with a five run rally in the top of fourth when a light rain began to fall prior to the floodgates opening.

“Our bats came alive that inning,” Freeport coach Rich Genzone said after his team improved to 6-0 in Conference AA-III. “It was a great team effort.”

Alyssa Hernandez capped off Freeport’s explosive fourth inning with an RBI double as part of a two-hit afternoon for the senior catcher. Senior pitcher Naggalie Cruceta drove in two runs in the preceding at bat to give herself some run support after relieving her younger sister Jaylynn Cruceta on the mound in the top of the fourth when Malverne loaded the bases with a chance to forge ahead.

“Jaylynn really pitched very well and I’m very proud of her, but I think ball got a little wet on her,” said Genzone of the sophomore pitcher, who delivered an RBI single as part of the big fourth inning. “We brought in her sister an she really shut the door.”

The Mules put together their own big inning in their top of the fourth by getting runners on base through five walks. Leadoff hitter Subhadra Debnath drove in two runs with a base hit to cut the Freeport lead to 7-6 and Alexandra Dellgatti tied it with an RBI single two batters later that scored Jhaylin Montas.

“This is a very young team and they don’t give up,” Malverne assistant coach Lisa Gress said. “That is our motto this year to never give up.”

After Debnath scored on a passed ball to give Malverne a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, the Red Devils responded with three runs in their first at bats on the strength of RBI singles from Naggalie Cruceta and Gianny Reynoso. Yulianna Frometa also delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Kisaire Cruceta.

Debnath finished the day with three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored. The senior pitcher also shined in Malverne’s 24-13 win at Roosevelt on April 3 with four strikeouts and three hits at the plate.

“She is our leader as a captain,” said Gress of Debnath. “She will stay on the field all day.”

After visiting Hempstead, Freeport returns to the field at home against Uniondale this Wednesday. The Red Devils will then have four remaining league games to try and keep the perfect record intact and assure themselves of a playoff berth.

“We've developed a little more game by game and the girls are starting to build their confidence,” Genzone said. "We're starting to gel and there is great chemistry on this team.”