Softball Loses in Extras, Rebounds to Make Playoffs

East Hampton’s seniors engaged in a synchronized slide after last Thursday’s 17-0 playoff-clinching win over Elwood-John Glenn. Jack Graves

     When last we left the East Hampton High School softball team it was tied at 5-5 in the ninth inning with Sayville as darkness descended here on May 9.
    The postponed game was resumed shortly after 5 p.m. the next day, with a Sayville runner, Cindy Griffin (the last one to bat for the Golden Flashes in the top of the ninth) on second base, and that is where we pick up the action:
    Olivia Kazmarek, who bats eighth in Sayville’s lineup, laid down a sacrifice bunt, sending Griffin to third. The second out followed, on another bunt, but the leadoff hitter, Kira Karl, then slapped a single that got by East Hampton’s shortstop, Meghan Hess, driving in Griffin, and Emily Seletti followed with a line drive double that made it 7-5. Seletti moved up to third when the throw came in from the outfield.
    There was more to come. Merissa Selts, the pitcher, touched East Hampton’s pitcher, Casey Waleko, for a run-scoring double, and Kathleen Maehr, the cleanup hitter, singled Selts in for 9-5 before Waleko retired Maddie Vetrano on a fly ball to Courtney Dess in center field.
    When East Hampton came to bat in the bottom half, Amanda Thompson was on second. Meredith Janis, pinch-hitting for Dess, was behind 0-2 in the count when Selts hit her with a pitch. Abby Schutte, who came in to bat for Maysie Makrianes as Dess went in to run for Janis, struck out on a 1-2 pitch, but Dana Dragone, hitting ninth, slapped a single over third to load the bases for Kathryn Hess, who responded with a two-run single off the right-field fence.
That brought up Waleko, with runners at first and second and one out. Waleko hit the ball hard, but was thrown out third-to-first. Deryn Hahn, East Hampton’s third baseman, who bats third in the lineup, then did likewise, grounding out short-to-first to end the game at 9-7 in Sayville’s favor.
It was the first close home game that East Hampton has failed to pull out in the end this season.
“I thought we would come back too,” Erin Abran, who’s coaching the team in Lou Reale’s absence, said afterward. “We came back, we were hitting the ball hard, but we weren’t finding the holes. We left it all on the field. But we’re going to have to find a little extra. We’ve been ahead in the last few games and have wound up losing. We have to find a way to keep the lead.”
    The next day, at Westhampton Beach, East Hampton edged closer to a playoff spot as it won 3-0.
    “We scored all our runs in the first inning,” said Abran. “Kathryn doubled to lead it off. Casey singled her in. After Deryn flied out to the shortstop, Meghan doubled in Casey. Sam [Mathews, the winning pitcher that day] struck out, but Amanda tripled for our third run.”
    “It’s not that our bats went silent after that,” the coach said in reply to a question. “We were making contact, but we were a little anxious. We were pulling the ball to left rather than being more patient and making contact. Sam pitched the whole game. She gave up three hits, struck out five, and walked two.”
    The Bonackers clinched a playoff berth with a 17-0 “mercy rule” shutout of winless Elwood-John Glenn here last Thursday. It was East Hampton’s 10th win of the season. The team was to have finished the regular season at Miller Place on Monday.
    Abran started all six of her seniors and they played the whole game. Janis replaced Kathryn Hess behind the plate.