By Jesse Quinlan
Call it a comeback for the ages.
Senior Madison Burhans ripped a one-out, two-run double in the bottom of the 11th inning Wednesday evening, lifting the Greenwich softball team to a dramatic and, no doubt, improbable 17-16 victory over Warde at Julian Curtiss School in Greenwich.
The marathon win in an FCIAC game took nearly three hours to complete, and, more importantly, kept the Cardinals perfect season going at 5-0.
Remarkably, Greenwich battled back from a 14-run deficit before also rallying twice in extra innings.
Natalie De La Garrigue gave the Mustangs (3-2) the lead back with an RBI double in the top of the 11th, but once again, these Cardinals had plenty of fight left in their bats.
Rebecca DeCarlo -- who highlighted Greenwich's momentum-changing 10-run fourth inning with a three-run homer -- reached base along with Erin Ferguson and Erin White.
That set the stage for Burhans, who crushed a pitch from Gabriella Natoli over the center fielder's head to plate the game-tying and winning runs.
A wild celebration ensued, and deservedly so as the Cardinals showed their mettle on a blustery day.
"Everyone dreams of being up with the bases loaded in that situation and I was just the lucky one today," Burhans said. "We have a lot of seniors who have been playing together for a long time, so we all really believe in each other. We've had some wild games, but I don't think any of them compare to this one."
In addition to the offensive heroics -- which featured a combined 36 hits -- the Cardinals got a big boost from senior Jessie Schelz, who allowed just two runs in seven strong innings of relief to earn the victory.
Greenwich finally tied the game in the seventh on consecutive two-out RBI singles by DeCarlo and Ferguson.
Warde would reclaim the lead on a run-scoring single by Shannon McCartney in the eighth, but Greenwich rallied in the home half of the inning thanks to an RBI single by Jen Ambrogio.
Ferguson finished with five hits, while White, Ambrogio, Burhans, DeCarlo and Dominique Gambino each had multi-hit games. Read Full Article
Several fine defensive plays by both teams were also mixed in to the epic contest.
"It was a total team effort and just a wild game," Greenwich coach Mary Beth Fratello said. "It usually takes us a little while to get going, but I was a little nervous after the third inning. The girls easily could have packed it in down 14-0, but not this group. They showed a lot of heart and I'm just hoping it will carry over to tomorrow's game against Staples."
Greenwich 17, Warde 16 (11)
FAIRFIELD WARDE 142 700 010 01--16 17 5
GREENWICH 000 (10)20 210 02--17 19 2
Records: Warde 3-2, Greenwich 5-0. Batteries: W--Gabriella Natoli and Brianna West; G--Katie Piro, Jessie Schelz and Erin Ferguson.