On the eve of his team’s departure for 10 days of scrimmages and practice sessions at Disney World’s sports complex in Orlando, Lou Reale, who coaches East Hampton High’s softball team, said things were looking pretty good given the young team’s early season wins over Shoreham-Wading River, Rocky Point, and Miller Place, and a close loss to Sayville, the top-ranked Class A school and one of the best teams over all in the county.
The 3-2 loss in 10 innings at Sayville on April 2 “shows we can play with anybody. . . . It was like a playoff game,” said the veteran coach.
East Hampton jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning on run-scoring singles by Deryn Hahn and Sam Mathews. The Golden Flashes came back to tie the score in the bottom half, on a triple, a double, and a single.
Casey Waleko, East Hampton’s starting pitcher, didn’t really have it that day, Reale said. “She was missing her pitches — she’d get ahead in the count and then give up a hit. She gave up 13 hits that day, probably the most she’s ever given up, but we played great defense.”
The game was scoreless from the 3rd through the 10th, though Reale’s charges came up big defensively on numerous occasions. “They had runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth, but we played unbelievable defense. Ceire Kenny [the second baseman] made two diving plays that held runners at third, Deryn made a great overhead catch of a foul ball with the bases loaded in the sixth to take them out of that inning, and Kathryn [Hess, the catcher] made a diving catch of a foul ball behind the plate to get us out of another jam. We didn’t make any errors in 10 innings.”
For its part, East Hampton finished with nine hits, though none as authoritative as Sayville’s. “We made 10 outfield putouts, so that shows you they were hitting the ball hard,” Reale said.
The Bonackers did make some base-running mistakes, however. Ali Harned, the freshman shortstop, was picked off second base in the seventh inning, “which wasn’t good,” and in the 10th, Kenny, who had started the inning on second in accordance with the tiebreaker rule, was tagged out as she ran toward third following a one-out lineout by Waleko to Sayville’s shortstop, “thinking it was the last out.”
East Hampton had runners at first and second with one out in the ninth, “but Ali popped out to third and Ceire grounded out to first.”
In Sayville’s ninth, “they hit two shots to the outfield, to left and to right, before Ali got the third out on a ground ball hit to her.”
As aforesaid, Kenny began the top of the 10th at second. Dana Dragone, who leads off for the Bonackers, “couldn’t get a bunt down in two tries, and then grounded out pitcher to first. That’s when Casey lined out to short and Ceire got caught off the base.”
The first batter to face Waleko in the bottom of the 10th singled, putting runners at first and third. “We walked the next one intentionally to load the bases so we could get a force at the plate, and pulled the infielders and outfielders in, but Casey gave up a fly ball to left that went over the head of Ellie Cassel, who, as I say, was playing in. . . . It was a game that could have gone either way, and it showed we can play with anybody.”
The very next day, April 3, Reale’s crew bounced back to defeat Miller Place 6-2 at home.
“That was good, coming back the way we did after playing such a tough game the night before — it didn’t end until 7:30, I don’t think they would have let us play another inning.”
East Hampton scored 4 runs in the fourth, on run-scoring singles by Hahn and Mathews, and a two-run double by Hess. The Bonackers tacked on two more in the fifth. Cassel drove one in on a single, and Mathews scored on a fielder’s choice play.
Waleko came out after 51/3 innings, having given up no runs, two hits, and one walk. She struck out 12. Mathews, who replaced her, gave up two runs, two hits, walked one, and struck out one.
Hahn went 4-for-4 with an r.b.i., Hess went 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored, and 2 r.b.i.s., and Kenny went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
“We made some mistakes, but that was understandable,” said Reale. “I thought there’d be a big letdown after that Sayville game, but there wasn’t. I was pleased.”
The team was to have left for Florida last Thursday morning. “The girls will get a lot of at-bats down there — we’ll be working on our hitting on situations. We’re hoping to come back a stronger team.”