Samantha Mendelsohn doesn’t usually show much emotion on the diamond, but the sophomore catcher couldn’t help herself after driving in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning on Thursday.
A big smile and short happy dance ensued at first base as she looked at her cheering teammates in the James Madison dugout.
“It felt so good,” Mendelsohn said. “I was so happy because I needed to help my team out.”
Her run-batted-in single to right brought the first Golden Knights lead of the game during a three-run sixth inning. The frame gave third-seeded Madison a 10–8 comeback win over visiting No. 6 Bronx Science in the Public School Athletic League Class A softball quarterfinals on May 28.
Madison advances to its second-straight semifinal, taking on No. 2-seeded Susan Wagner 12:30 pm on May 30 at the College of Staten Island. Madison fell 10–0 to Construction in the final four a year ago, but believes it has grown since them. Wagner has beaten Madison twice already this season.
“Now, we are experienced,” said shortstop Taylor Trim. “We know what we are looking for, so we know how to adjust.”
The Golden Knights (16–4) had to get into rally mode, trailing by as much as 8–3 going to the bottom of the fourth inning. There was a key error and ace Isabella Gerone gave up four hits in the frame after a leadoff walk to the No. 9 batter. Gerone allowed just one hit the rest the way, and Madison scored seven times over the next three innings.
“They were a little down when we went down 8–3,” said Madison coach Thomas Mobilia. “I just went to the mound and said, ‘Calm down. There are three more innings. We can do it.’ ”
Madison saw the top of its order erase some defensive mistakes with its bats. The Golden Knights’ first four hitters of Trim, Valerie Horton, Isabella Gerone and Mendelsohn combined to go 10-for-15 with eight runs batted in and seven runs scored. Trim was a perfect four-for-four with a home run, four runs scored, and three runs batted in against Bronx Science (17–3).
“Taylor is really what makes everything go,” Mobilia said. “When she gets on the base, the wheels turn.”
It was Trim that started the comeback. Her two-run double and a two-runs-batted-in single from Horton against Science starter Ava Cutler pulled Madison within 8–7 going to the fifth. The Golden Knights left two runners on fifth, but quickly got to reliever Alexandra Feeley. Gerone drove in the tying run with a hard-hit single to left, Mendelsohn followed with a single of her own, and the final run scored on Gina Cariello’s fielder’s choice. It capped a day that saw Madison hit its way back to the semifinals.
“Everyone in the lineup did awesome today,” Mendelsohn said.