Otters are comeback kids, again

Isabella Falco and coach Toni Poalino celebrate after defeating Rice in a quarterfinal game on Friday.

Otter Valley co-coaches Kelly Trayah and Toni Poalino may need to get their hearts checked after the softball season concludes as their Otter squad has been testing the two coaches cardiovascular health throughout the playoffs.

“They just do it to get our blood pressure going,” Trayah joked after the game on Friday, May 31, against Rice in which they came back from a 2-0 deficit to score six in the sixth inning and win 6-2 “It’s like it takes a little while to get the bats going.”

Previously, the Otters hosted Vergennes in a playoff game in which they were down 4-16 going into the 7th inning, before staging a thrilling late-inning 12-run comeback victory on Wednesday, May 29, adding the winning run in the eighth for a final score of 17-16.

In Friday’s game against Rice, the Otters were down 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning when they rallied to take the win.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking,” Poalino laughed afterwards, “but the outcome was great, for sure. Once they execute, they do pretty well.”

Reilly Keith steps across home plate to begin a big comeback inning for the Otters.

Freshman Riley Keith started it off for the Otters in the sixth with a double, and junior Isabella Falco followed her with an 11-pitch walk, fouling off strike after strike before taking her base. Sophomore Mia Politano knocked both runners home to tie the game and the Otters went on to score four more in the inning.

“We were chasing those high pitches again,” Trayah told his team going into the big inning. “Keep your hands on top of the ball, and drive it through.”

The girls listened and responded. Poalino said the leadership on the team is a big part of the team’s success.

“We’ve got Bella Falco and Livia Bernhardt (a junior),” Poalino said. “They’re both doing a fantastic job leading the team.”

Trayah said the team’s chant all year has been family, and said this team gets along better than any team he’s ever coached.

Isabella Falco slides into home after a wild pitch passed the catcher in the 6th inning.

“There’s no drama,” he said. “We’ve both been doing this a long time and we can tell you, that is rare.” The Otters will try not to raise their coaches’ blood pressure too much as they host U-32 on Tuesday, June 4, at 4:30 at Candon Field, which is after The Reporter’s deadline.

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