White Plains Can’t Solve its Bane in 2-1 Class AAA Title Loss to North Rock

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Somers Falls in Finals; Hen Hud, Valhalla Dip in Semis

By Ben Gurwitch
White Plains 2B Ava Galligani slaps tag down on North Rockland runner in Tigers’ 2-1 extra-inning Section 1 Class AAA title loss Saturday.

THIELLS –The White Plains Tigers’ 2024 softball season ended the same heartbreaking way as their previous two seasons. White Plains had a tremendous season yet, once again, they were not able to surpass the North Rockland Red Raiders in the Section 1 Class AAA finals.

The Red Raiders walked off the Tigers in the bottom of the ninth inning to win 2-1. It was an eerily similar game to the 2022 sectional finals, when the Red Raiders won 2-1 on a walkoff in the eighth inning. White Plains softball has now fallen just short of a sectional title in three straight seasons. A third consecutive one-run loss will leave a terrible taste in the Tigers’ mouths, especially after they had led 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning.

While it can be easy to focus on the frustrating end result, the Tigers’ success this year should not go overlooked.

Going into the playoffs, a loss to the Red Raiders was the only blemish to an otherwise perfect record. White Plains finished the regular season 19-1, with a 10-0 league record. They earned the second seed for Class AAA.

White Plains’ Ava Ritterman slides in safely with a first-inning run, the Tigers’ only such fortitude in their 2-1 Section Class AAA title loss to defending champ North Rockland Saturday.

The Tigers were led by freshman Alexis Tighe. Tighe’s freshman status does not indicate her role or the respect she has earned on the team. Tighe has been a key part of the varsity team since she

was in middle school. As an eighth grader, Tighe gave up three runs in 34 innings. Those stats were more than impressive on their own but, taking account of her age, they were hard to believe. The same can be said for Tighe’s eye-popping pitching numbers this season. In over 106 innings, she struck out 227 batters and gave up a mere 17 earned runs, giving her a miniscule ERA of 1.12. Tighe had 16 of the Tigers’ 21 wins. She was vital to their success.

Coach Chris Rowan explained his thoughts and the trust he has in Tighe, “she’s my Bulldog. She just comes out and always delivers. She has a lot of confidence in herself. She’s just a straight bulldog. I have all the confidence in that girl.”

An 11-0 trouncing of Mamaroneck set White Plains up for a semifinal clash against the John Jay Wolves. Tighe’s “Bulldog” status was on display in the John Jay game. She completely dominated the first two hitters of the game. However, after a two out line drive hit Tighe’s pitching hand, White Plains thought the worst, but a lengthy discussion with Coach Rowan and the team trainer resulted in Tighe staying in the game. Although she was her usual dominant self, it was clear that she wasn’t at full strength. Tighe spoke of the injury, “after I got hit in the hand, it messed up a few of my pitches but I think I did a great job battling through”

Tighe said that some of her most effective pitches were ruled out due to the injury. However, she showed impressive toughness and smarts. She worked through an injury that limited her options and ability to give hitters different looks. The freshman’s poise was fun to watch. The big moment did not get to her, even after she suffered a scare. In just a second year on varsity, Tighe has a great sense of poise and control on the mound.

Though the play was later ruled ineligible, Somers C Katherine Papa defends her turf in Tuskers’ 5-0 Section 1 Class AA title loss to Harrison Saturday at North Rockland.

She took control of the team. It was clear that she attempted to ease tensions and treat the game the way Coach Rowan hoped, “like it was any other game.” Tighe understands that she has a key part to play on the team. She tries to make the most of her role. She said, “my role is to help everyone else and do my part. I try and keep everyone loose and laugh as much as possible. I also try to take control in the circle to not make my teammates nervous.”

Regardless of the situation, Tighe laughed and joked with her teammates. A little action like that to calm her team down is exactly what a leader does. It speaks volumes to her character.

Tighe also clearly took steps to calm herself down. Mainly, whenever she threw two balls she took a pause and walked a couple feet away from the mound and gathered herself before her next pitch. She said, “I had a tendency to get in my own head and not be able to throw pitches where I wanted to. When I throw multiple balls in a row, I try to collect myself and try to bring myself back together, because if I don’t, it stays going badly.”

Tighe’s knowledge of herself and how to calm herself at such a young age is remarkable. She clearly has a strong head on her shoulders.

Tighe battled and threw a complete game shutout against John Jay. She recorded 10 strikeouts while only allowing three hits.

Somers IF Alyssa Pirraglia forces out Harrison runner in Tuskers’ 5-0 Section 1 Class AA title loss to Huskies Saturday at North Rockland High.

White Plains did enough to give Tighe the run support she needed. It was a comfortable 4-0 win. Going into the finals, the Tigers were yet to give up a run in the playoffs.

Coach Rowan and Tighe knew that they had a tough task ahead of them. Rowan said, “it’s gonna be a good game, gonna be a tough game, with North Rockland being two-time returning champs, hopefully we can change it.”

Tighe added, “it’s also going to come down to who can battle it out. It’s going to come down to every little thing.”

Tighe was spot on. In the tightly contested game, it came down to the little things. Unfortunately for White Plains, the Red Raiders executed the little things. They had multiple successful bunts, made a lot of great plays in the field and executed some aggressive baserunning.

The Tigers wanted revenge. Their hunger showed early. They struck in the first inning with an RBI single by Ava Galligini. The bats then went quiet as Red Raiders pitcher Tara Murphy retired the next 15 batters. The Tigers were agonizingly close to taking a 3-0 lead later in the game but Emily Anastacio’s well-hit ball went narrowly foul. Murphy was able to retire her and, in the bottom of that sixth inning, the Raiders got on the board with an RBI single.

The Tigers fought. Coach Rowan had a lot to be pleased with. Rowan discussed the main point he has been working with his team. He said, “Energy. Our girls are very quiet. Once they get going and start cheering, everything changes. That’s one big piece we are looking to continue to work on.”

Tusker teammates Julia Peanamanda and Katherine Papa share a happy moment after a caught-stealing play in Somer’ 5-0 Section 1 Class AA title loss to Harrison Saturday at North Rockland.

The Tigers’ energy was great throughout the game. The bench roared when a North Rockland baserunner was caught stealing to end the seventh. The Tigers stayed loud through pressure- filled extra innings.

Tighe’s growth as a pitcher is impressive and worrisome for her opponents for the next three years. When she faced North Rockland earlier in the year, she gave up six earned runs on 11 hits and six walks. In the finals, she pitched into the ninth inning, only allowing one earned run. Tighe struck out 11 while only walking one. She was dominant throughout the game. Unfortunately, for her and her Tiger teammates, it just wasn’t enough against a very formidable, well run North Rockland team.


Somers softball had the best section 1 finish in their program’s history. The Tuskers (14-6) had an impressive, historical playoff run, knocking out No.1 Clarkstown South on their way to their first finals.

Ellie Walsh, Caitlin Fitts and Katherine Papa each went 1 for 3 while P Emily Boyle (4 ER, 5H, 4BB, 2K) kept the Tuskers in striking distance.

Somers cruised to the semifinals, beating Clarkstown North in the quarterfinals 12-1. It was a team effort against North. All nine starters reached base safely. In Somers’ first-ever semifinal, late-game heroics got it done. Fitts picked quite the time to hit her first-ever varsity home run, a three-run blast that gave Somers the lead. The lead stuck as Somers hung on to win 6-4. Clarkstown South were 17-2 before Somers dethroned them on their home field.

Somers P Emily Boyle, just a freshman, delivers pitch in Tuskers’ 5-0 Section 1 Class AA title loss to Harrison, which won its first sectional title and denied the Tuskers their first.

Although the finals against Harrison did not go Somers’ way, Coach Teresa Ricci’s team has a lot to be proud of, but they were not satisfied with just that, pushing on to ensure the best run in program history.


Hen Hud softball won two games handily before falling to one seeded Tappan Zee in the semifinals. Hen Hud only gave up one run in each game while scoring double digit runs on their way to the semifinals. Pearl River won the Class A playoffs, shutting out Tappan Zee in the finals 2-0.


Valhalla softball beat Dobbs Ferry in the quarterfinals, setting them up for a tough matchup against top-seeded Albertus Magnus Falcons. Albertus Magnus was too much for Valhalla, beating them 9-0 in the semifinals. The Falcons went on to beat Rye Neck 13-0 to complete their impressive run to the Class B title.



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