Sacred Heart pitcher Erica Comisso has been a bundle of nerves the entire softball season.
She worried before tryouts she wouldn't be good enough to make varsity as a freshman. She admits to feeling rather anxious before every game. And she looked noticeably jumpy in the sixth inning when Holy Angels had the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position -- threatening to deny the Sharks their third straight Monsignor Martin Association playoff title.
But Comisso made the big pitch to induce a harmless ground out to third to escape the jam and worked around an error in the seventh to help Sacred Heart extend its championship reign with a 2-1 triumph Wednesday before an estimated 150 at Walden Pond Park.
Comisso yielded just one hit and an unearned run, and while she had more unassisted putouts (three) than strikeouts (two) she kept Holy Angels (17-5) off balance by mixing her pitches well.
"I'm so happy for the seniors because I didn't want to break tradition," she said. "I look up to these seniors. . . . I knew I had to do my part to keep it going."
The Sharks (13-1) have also won four regular-season MMA titles and are 46-1 the past four seasons in the league, the lone loss in the 2004 title game to Mount Mercy.
"I was so nervous," Comisso said. "My teammates kept me up and told me I could do it. They helped me get my confidence up. Winning a title in my first year is very exciting."
"Everyone is nervous," said senior catcher and league MVP Alison Pyszczynski, whose RBI single in the first gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead. "Some show it differently. We tried to make her feel better and she pulled through."
Comisso made the team as its starting second baseman but was tapped to fill-in at pitcher after senior ace Mallory Pemberton's season ended after two games because of a muscle tear in her arm.
Comisso (11-0) held the Angels hitless through 4 2/3 innings before giving up a single to Emily Englert.
"I think she really dominated the game," Sacred Heart coach Mike Injaychock said. "When she needed to come up with the big pitch she did."
"Three years in row," lamented Holy Angels coach Fran Snyder, whose team dropped 4-3 and 3-0 decisions to the Sharks in the previous two finals. "We had a lot of good at-bats. We just didn't put the ball in the holes."
Angels senior pitcher Erica Raepple yielded three hits and one earned run.
Holy Angels tied it in the third with an unearned run after Marissa Pullo reached second on a dropped fly ball, took third on a wild pitch and scored after a tailing liner to short was dropped.
Sacred Heart scored the winning run in its half of the third after No. 9 hitter Rachel Bradley reached via bunt, moved to second on a Katie Salisbury sacrifice and scored on an errant throw after swiping third.