ARDSLEY, N.Y. After Cassie DiLeo delivered the game-winning hit, crossed first base and turned around, she was greeted by her excited Eastchester teammates Thursday.
The two-out single to center field by DiLeo, 13, lifted Eastchester to an 8-7 walk-off win in seven innings over Ardsley to claim the District 20 Little League Softball Majors title at McDowell Field.
Eastchester advances to the Section 4 Softball Majors Championship at Beekman Little League. It has a first-round bye and will play the winner of District 17-District 18 at 1 p.m. Saturday.
"It feels great, especially because we won," DiLeo, an eighth-grader-to-be at Eastchester Middle School, said of her game-winning hit.
Sophia Tiso was one of the first to hug DiLeo. "At first, I thought Marie was going to catch it," Tiso said of Ardsley shortstop Marie McNerney. "Once it dropped, everyone just exploded."
Amanda Graham had led off the seventh with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a Nicole Calabro sacrifice bunt before scoring the winning run.
Ardsley forced the game into the extra inning with a two-out three-run rally in the top of the sixth. It took a great play by Eastchester to keep the score 7-7.
Consecutive singles by Danielle Scaperotta, Isabelle Lawton and Gia Saul loaded the bases. McNerney lined a shot to the fence in right center, scoring Lawton and Saul. The relay went from Calabro, to second second baseman Tori Santamauro to pitcher Cassie McGrath and then to catcher Alyson Schultz, who tagged out McNerney.
"Coach told us before out at bat that we had to breathe, sit back and hit," Tiso said of her father, manager Chris Tiso.
Eastchester did not want a replay of last year when Kensico emerged from the loser's bracket and defeated them twice to win the District 20 title.
"It was a really exciting game but also really nerve-wracking," Sophia Tiso said. "We didn't want to come back tomorrow. We wanted to come out today and win."
Tiso, who smacked an inside-the-park home run in the second inning, also singled, drove in two runs and scored three times. Daniella Chiodi doubled, singled, scored twice and drove in a run. Winning pitcher Cassie McGrath, who struck out 10, had a run-scoring double and single. DiLeo singled in her first at-bat and scored.
Ardsley 301 003 0 -- 7 12 1Eastchester 221 200 1 -- 8 12 1
RBI -- A: Marie McNerney 4, Isabelle Lawton E: Sophia Tiso 2, Cassie McGrath, Cassie DiLeo, Daniella Chiodi, Alyson Schultz, Brid O'Connell. 2B -- E: Daniella Chiodi, Cassie McGrath. 3B -- A: Marie McNerney. HR -- E: Sophia Tiso. WP -- Cassie McGrath. LP -- Danielle Scaperotta.
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