POMPTON LAKES _ Not everyone gets a chance at redemption.
Par-Troy East's Talie Braga had the opportunity in a big game and made the most of it, using her bat to make up for an error she made in the top of the sixth inning.
Braga, the third batter due up in the bottom of the sixth inning, slugged a two-run double to center field, tying the score for PTE before Rachel Volarich reached on an error, lifting Par-Troy Troy East over Pequannnock 6-5 in the decisive game of the Little League Section 1 Tournament on Saturday, July 11.
"Talie's been pretty solid," said PTE manager Bob Devens, who had the team over for a pool party and pizza after the thrilling victory. "She struggled a little bit with her bat but she's come around. She's a good little player.
"She threw the ball away in the top of the inning so for her to get the game-tying hit was nice."
The dramatic come-from-behind win earned PTE a berth in the state tournament, which gets underway on Thursday, July 16 in Clifton. PTE is scheduled to meet Elmora at 8 p.m.
No doubt, the double, which knotted the score, 5-5, was one of the biggest of Braga's young career.
"It felt good to pick my team up after making a mistake," Braga said.
The 5-3 deficit PTE faced going into the lower half of the sixth inning, apparently, was no issue. Jenna Devens led off with a single up the middle and Lil Vidal go on courtesy of an error. That brought up Braga, who had an RBI base hit in the third inning. Volarich hit the ball hard and it was bobbled by an infielder, enabling PTE's sixth run to cross the plate.
PTE handled the tense situation with poise. Strangely enough, PTE rarely falls behind, preferring to establish leads early on.
"The girls never quit," Devens said. "They were great. They stuck to their guns and fought. They felt they'd get the runs and did. They got a little help. That's what they needed."
As expected, the matchup was exceptional, with the two top-notch teams battling it out. PTE took a 1-0 lead in the first when Lindsey DePetris hit into a fielder's choice. Pequannock scored twice in the second on base hits by Emma Harlow and Brielle Zaccone.
In the third inning, PTE regained the advantage, 3-2, on Braga's single and an error. Pequannock struck back with a three-run sixth inning. Alexa Shalongo and Emily Deitch rapped out singles before Gianna Celletti grounded into a run-producing fielder's choice and Harlow drove in a run with a single.
With two outs, Devens made the decision to remove starting pitcher Tori Freire and replace her with his daughter, Jenna. Freire, a right-hander, had a strong outing, going 5 2/3 innings, striking out eight and scattering seven hits. Devens, under presssure, faced one batter and struck her out.
"No one gave up," the elder Devens said. "This team just got the job done."
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