Jitters played a hand in the Pierson (Sag Harbor) High School softball team’s 12-1 loss to Greenwich in a state Final Four semifinal in upstate Queensbury Saturday, though the facts remained that for the first time ever, the Whalers, whose coach is Melissa Edwards, had won Long Island and regional championships.
The team defeated East Rockaway 9-1 to win the Long Island championship — the first time Pierson had ever defeated East Rockaway. And, in the regional game, the Whalers defeated Tuxedo 4-1. Edwards and her players were greeted on their 11 p.m. return from the regional game by a victory parade.
After Saturday’s game, according to an account in Newsday, Kasey Gilbride, League VIII’s player of the year, who accounted for the Whalers’ sole run by homering over the center-field fence in the seventh inning, and Pierson’s senior pitcher, Melanie Stafford, said they had been playing extra hard of late for their coach, whose father, Charles Edwards, died May 3 after the delivery truck he was driving struck a tree on North Haven.
“We went into each game playing for Coach Edwards and her father,” Gilbride was quoted as saying. “We wanted to make her proud, each game, each pitch. It was definitely a motivator for us.”
Edwards told Newsday’s Evan Korn, “These girls kept me going this season through everything, and I can’t be any more proud than I am.”