McKiernan Sparks Pearl River Softball Outburst (VIDEO)

Senior Shannon McKiernan hit her first career home run, a grand slam, and doubled twice as Pearl River defeated Valhalla, 22-1, at home Thursday.

Pearl River senior right fielder Shannon McKiernan sparked the Pirates' 17-run third inning Thursday at home against Valhalla with a hard-hit double, her second of the game.

She added the exclamation point on her third at-bat of the inning, hitting a grand slam to center, her first varsity home run, to tack on Pearl River's final four runs in a 22-1, five-inning victory over the defending Section 1 Class B champions.

"Amazing," McKiernan said. "I never even thought I could hit a home run. I just wanted to hit the ball hard every time up. Once I get one, I guess I get more confident."

"Shannon is very underrated on our team, for her personality and leadership," Pearl River Head Coach Mike Carlacci said. "I'm glad she has a day like this because she means this much to us every day. She's a great outfielder. When she hits, you can see she stings the ball."

The Pirates stung the ball all day against Valhalla freshman pitcher Syndi Holtz, scoring five runs on five hits in the first inning and 17 runs on 11 hits in the third, with the first 10 batters reaching base before Valhalla could record an out. Sophomore pitcher Mandy McCarthy hit a three-run double and an RBI single during the third inning, accounting for two of her three hits. Sophomore shortstop Sam Alicandri, the Pirates leadoff batter, singled and scored three times. 

In addition to McKiernan's fireworks from the No. 7 spot, No. 9 hitter sophomore Erin Woods hit a two-run double and two RBI singles for the Pirates (2-0). 

"We hit the ball well," Carlacci said. "I think we have a very deep lineup. We can make things happen from anywhere in the lineup, which is nice to see."

"It takes the pressure off," McCarthy said of the deep lineup. "You don't feel like you have to carry the lineup. The next girl will pick you up. You will pick up the girl in front of you."

Valhalla returned four starters from the team that won the Class B section championship a year ago, three who also played on Class C championship teams in 2009 and '10, but McCarthy held them to only one unearned run on one hit while striking out five in five innings.

Valhalla got its lone run in the fourth when two errors put runners on first and third and Jade Fumarell brought one home with an RBI grounder to short. Left fielder Danielle Maffei doubled for Valhalla's only hit of the game later that inning, but McCarthy got out of the jam with no further damage. 

"We have really pitched three deep," Carlacci said. "(Freshman) Katherine Gilbride has pitched really well. We don't need them to dominate. We need them to do their jobs. We've got to make plays behind them. We got a little sloppy there." 

Pearl River will play its first league game 11 a.m. Friday against Nyack on the Upper Nyack Elementary School Field. 

Pearl River 22, Valhalla 1 (5 innings)
Valhalla      000     10 --  1   1   5
Pearl River  50(17) 0X -- 22 17  2
WP: Mandy McCarthy (1-0); LP:  Syndi Holtz
2B: V --  Danielle Maffei; PR -- Shannon McKiernan 2, Erin Woods, Mandy McCarthy; HR: PR -- McKiernan


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