The outcome of the game, which was suspended because of darkness two days before with the bases loaded and two outs, left Rocco feeling sad.
Less than two hours later, Rocco, an outfielder, was up with the bases full and drew a full-count walk, lifting PTE over rival PTW, 5-4, in the bottom of the sixth inning in the second game of the best-of-three series at Park Road Field.
"I was pretty nervous but, at the same time, I was pretty confident," said Rocco, PTE's No. 8 batter. "I thought I'd get a hit or maybe a walk. Par-Troy West's pitcher did well the whole game. I was a little surprised I walked."
The reason? The pitches came off Jaclyn Carifi, PTW's accurate and hard-throwing ace. Carifi surrendered only five hits in the second game. She struck out eight and walked three, two intentionally.
According to Rocco, PTE, which will meet PTW in the decisive game tonight, July 6, at 6 p.m. at the same site, prepared extra hard for Carifi, turning up the batting machines to 60 mph at ProMotions Training Academy in Fairfield.
"(Carifi) is very fast compared to the other pitchers," said Rocco, who will be a sixth grader at Central Junior High School in the fall. "She's really good. We wanted to be ready."
PTE manager Rob Pisillo praised Rocco, who struck out twice prior to the walk, for looking over the pitches carefully. The score was tied, 4-4, entering the lower half of the sixth and runs would be hard to come by.
Winning pitcher Carly Homler fell behind 1-2 in the count before hitting a leadoff double off Carifi. Following a groundout, PTW manager Altan Mansur opted to intentionally walk the next two batters to fill the bases. PTW got a forceout at home before Rocco stepped into the batter's box. It was tense as the count went to full.
"Bella is a focused girl," Pisillo said. "She's very coachable. She's a contact hitter. She came up huge with her eye."
Pisillo fully expected rival PTW to pull out all the stops to try to send the game into extra innings.
"We were down after losing that first game," Pisillo said. "We were able to fight back. No matter what the adversity, these girls keep trying. Losing the suspended game hurt our momentum."
Mansur didn't regret the decision to put two PTE batters on base.
"We looked at the stats against their order and those two girls had good at-bats," Mansur said. "They made good contact. We put them on and wanted to get forceouts or strikeouts."
PTW knotted the score, 4-4, in the top of the sixth on Danielle Bianchi's groundout. PTW struggled offensively after putting two runs across in the top of the first inning.
"I would've liked better at-bats," Mansur said. "We took too many swings at first and second pitches. Sometimes, their pitcher threw only six or seven pitchers per inning."
Homler, who struck out seven, walked none and scattered eight hits, said it was tough losing the first game but that PTE regrouped quickly in order to prevail and even the series.
"We just pretended it didn't happen," Homler said. "It was a new game. We had to forget about the first game."
She was pleased with her effort and said she really didn't feel any pressure.
"I think I pitched pretty well," Homler said. "I was most pleased that I struck out some batters with a changeup and made girls swing early. I didn't walk many. We had to stay back in the box against Jaclyn. She's very accurate. She's down the middle every time."
Both teams scored twice in the first inning. Carifi, 3 for 3 as leadoff batter, made it 3-2 for PTW by stealing home in the third inning. PTE pulled ahead, 4-3, on RBIs by Tori Freire and Michelle Ebel in the fourth inning.
Among the top hitters for PTE were Paige Kaiser, who doubled, and Lauren Feola, who rapped out two hits. PTW received two hits from its No. 3 batter, Izzy Mansur.
Mansur got the last out of the suspended game, a line drive to shortstop Caila Przychocki. PTW was relieved to get the victory but anticipated - and got - a strong effort from PTE.