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Harrison Defeats Eastchester For Softball Crown

THORNWOOD, N.Y. – Juliette Grasso found herself in a two-strike hole with two outs in the top of the sixth Thursday, but the Harrison 10-year-old softball player did not panic. Instead, she fought off the two-strike pitch and dropped a two-run single into right field.

Those two runs proved to be all Harrison would need to claim the District 20 Little League Softball Minors Championship with a 2-1 win over Eastchester at Volunteer Field.

“I wanted to stay alive,” said Grasso, a fifth-grader-to-be at Harrison Avenue School. “If the pitcher put the pitch there I was going to hit. I was not going to go down looking.”

Tamara Day was the winning pitcher as Eastchester managed just one hit.

This was Harrison’s first softball minors title since 2003. It was also a rematch of last year’s final, won by Eastchester.

Harrison advances to the Section 4 Championships beginning Sunday at Nanuet Little League in Rockland County. Harrison will play the District 19 champion at 5 p.m. at Heroes Field.

Grasso’s base hit scored Lila Mogavero, who led off the sixth with a single, and Day.

“When I was running to first base, I saw the second baseman and right fielder going for the ball so I thought it was going to drop in,” Grasso said. “When I saw Tamara score the second run, I was so excited.

“It feels unbelievable to get the hit.”

Eastchester put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth as Maya DiNapoli drew a bases-loaded walk. However, Mogavero fielded a hard-hit grounder and threw to first baseman Kristy Iannachinno to end the game and begin the celebration.

“I just threw my glove in the air and ran over and gave Lila a big hug,” Grasso said.

Harrison manager Bobby Day was proud of his team for winning the title against an excellent Eastchester team.

“That shows the confidence level of this team,” said Day of Grasso’s hit. “The girls are not afraid of any situation and they all adapted so well to the game. I am so proud of them. This was the goal – wanting to win the district.”

Eastchester’s Olivia Yorizzo allowed only three hits and had her team’s lone hit – a single in the fourth.

Eastchester manager Ken Graham was proud of his girls for what they accomplished. Eastchester, which won the 2010 and 2011 District 20 Softball Minors titles, returned to the title game for a third consecutive year.

“To see the girls come out and play a fantastic game and be that close to winning is a really great experience,” Graham said. “To work with the girls and see them enjoy it as much as they did, that’s what it’s all about. This is the joy of coaching.”

Graham also pointed out that these last three years have been even more special for him because he coached his older daughter, Amanda, on the 2010 team, and had daughter Ashley on the team the past two years.

Harrison 000 002 – 2 3 0Eastchester 000 001 – 1 1 0

RBI – E: Maya DiNapoli; H: Juliette Grasso. 3B – H: Lila Mogavero. WP – Tamara Day. LP – Olivia Yorizzo.

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