St. Luke's rallies to beat GA and claim FAA softball crown
Updated 9:39 pm, Wednesday, May 22, 2013
NEW CANAAN -- St. Luke's retiring softball coach Camile DeMarco-Havens stood near home plate about 20 minutes after her team's dramatic 7-5 victory over Greenwich Academy in the Fairchester Athletic Association championship game, and glanced at her jubilant players who were slowly leaving the field.
She flashed a smile almost as wide as the one when the final out was recorded.
"I couldn't have scripted it better," DeMarco-Havens said of her final game after 32 years as the head coach at St. Luke's.
The Storm (13-2) rallied in the bottom of the sixth inning on Marissa Ruschil's three-run homer to send their coach out in style.
"I'm so happy," Ruschil said. "Now (DeMarco-Havens) gets to go out with a smile on her face."
For a while, after Greenwich Academy (9-9) took the lead in the top of the sixth, it appeared it wouldn't be a happy ending for the Storm and their coach.
The sixth was as emotional an inning as either team has probably ever played.
"The sixth inning was a real roller coaster ride," GA coach Nicole DeRosa said. "We all banded together and never quit. But St. Luke's is a great hitting team and they came up with the big hit."
Ruschil, who had three hits and four RBI, stuck to the script when she came up with two on and two outs in the sixth and GA ahead 5-4.
"That's who I wanted up," DeMarco-Havens said. "She's our No. 4 batter and is hitting around .500. So, even after (falling behind) I had faith in the kids coming up for us."
With two outs and two on, it was up to Ruschil.
"I thought they might walk me," she said. "But when I took strike one, I was ready. When I first hit it I thought the right fielder might catch it, but then I realized it was over her head."
Winning pitcher Jamie Schlim then retired the Gators 1-2-3 in the seventh to seal the victory.
GA, looking for its fifth outright or shared FAA title in 10 years, got two back without a hit in the third, setting up the sixth-inning dramatics.
St. Luke's committed four errors in the inning but the big blow was Staab's two-run double that tied it, and she scored the go-ahead run on an error.
Staab, who took the loss harder than anyone else and had two of GA's three hits, was that close to being the hero and spoiling the post-game party for DeMarco-Havens.
"You have to know when it's OK to say good bye," DeMarco-Havens said. "I knew with this team it was OK because whatever happened I was going out a winner."
St. Luke's 7, Greenwich Academy 5
GREENWICH ACADEMY 02 003 0--5 3 3
ST. LUKE'S 220 003 x--7 8 6
Records: Greenwich Academy 9-9, St. Luke's 13-2. Batteries: GA--Hannah Staab (L) and Phoebe Morris; SL--Jamie Schlim (W) and Janay Parrott. Highlights: GA--Staab had two hits and two-run double, Tyla Taylor had an RBI single. SL--Marissa Ruschil had three hits, including a three-run homer, and three RBI, Schlim struck out eight and walked seven and had a two-run single.