Lou Reale, East Hampton High School’s softball coach, said over the weekend that he was happy to have the third seed (behind Sayville and Islip) in the county Class A tournament. The Bonackers were to have begun it here yesterday with sixth-seeded Mount Sinai.
The veteran coach, whose team lost 8-2 in the regular season finale here Friday to Sayville, which went on to grab the top seed among the A playoff teams — a seeding East Hampton could well have received had it defeated the Golden Flashes that day — said he thought East Hampton’s was the less tough of the two brackets.
Of Sayville’s draw, he said, “Rocky Point has a really good pitcher — she beat Sayville in the regular season — and Shoreham, which also has a good pitcher, beat Sayville too. . . . I wouldn’t be shocked if Sayville loses [in the first round] to Rocky Point. A team with seven or eight losses could well wind up winning it. That’s the way it’s been this year. Everyone’s been beating everyone else. It will all come down to which team catches fire.”
As for the 8-2 loss in Friday’s game, which was for a share of the league championship, Reale said, “You have to play a great game to win against a team like Sayville — we can hang with them. But the pitching has to be consistent, you can’t make any errors, and you’ve got to get some timely hits.”
Merissa Selts, Sayville’s starter, whose drop Bonac’s batters were pounding into the ground, gave up only one hit through the first five innings — a Kathryn Hess single up the middle in the second on a 1-2 changeup.
East Hampton’s pitcher, Casey Waleko, while getting through the first three frames unscathed, served up a fat two-out pitch to the visitors’ designated hitter, Nicole Petillo, in the fourth, a hanging curve that Petillo belted into the left-center gap for a 2-0 Sayville lead. Waleko then fanned Olivia Kaczmarick, Sayville’s catcher, for the second time that afternoon, to retire the side.
Sayville made it 7-0 in the top half of the fifth. Jackie Christensen, the second baseman, drew a walk from Waleko on a 3-2 pitch to lead it off. Hess then snagged a popped-up bunt by Jess Griffen, but the leadoff hitter, Kira Karl, singled between third and short to put runners at first and second for Emily Sellitti, whose base hit through the right side made it 3-0.
With the count 1-0 on Selts, Waleko unleashed a wild pitch, which enabled another run to score, and then Selts singled up the middle for 5-0. The cleanup hitter, Kathleen Maehr, reached first base safely on a grounder to the shortstop, Ali Harned, and Cindy Griffen followed with a base hit of her own to load the bases for Petillo, whose subsequent two-run single through the right side — her third and fourth runs batted in of the day — upped the Golden Flashes’ lead to 7-0.
“They were crowding the plate,” Reale was to say later, “so they could hit Casey’s curve to the right side.”
The good news was that East Hampton didn’t call it a day at that point, but fought on.
A double play took Sayville out of its half of the sixth as Deryn Hahn, the third baseman, snagged a hard, low liner off the bat of Karl and threw across the diamond to double off Jess Griffen, who had been hit by a pitch.
Finally, East Hampton got something going in the bottom of the sixth. Shannon McCaffrey, with the count 2-2, singled over second to lead it off. Ceire Kenny, the ninth batter, slapped a 1-2 pitch up the line, but just foul, before striking out.
Dana Dragone, who leads off for the Bonackers, then grounded out short-to-first, but, with two outs, Hahn singled up the middle, and Waleko, with the count 0-2, was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Hess, who stroked a two-run double that plated McCaffrey and Hahn.
That brought up Ellie Cassel with Waleko on third and Hess on second. After going down 0-2, Cassel fouled off the next two pitches before Selts missed twice, evening the count at 2-2. Cassel fouled off the next two deliveries as well — the latter landing a couple of feet off the right-field line as Waleko and Hess, who were subsequently told to go back where they’d come from, crossed the plate hoping that the margin had been narrowed to 7-4. Selts’s next offering resulted in a soft lineout by Cassel to Karl at third.
Two errors, by Hahn and Harned, led to Sayville’s eighth run in the top of the seventh, but, following a subsequent single to center, Courtney Dess’s throw to Hess cut down a runner at the plate before a foulout off third and a flyout to left ended the inning.
Maehr, who throws heat, closed the door in the bottom of the seventh, inducing Ilsa Brzezinski, who hits sixth in the lineup, to pop out to second, after which Harned, with the count 3-2, was caught looking at a called third strike, and McCaffrey struck out swinging on a 1-2 pitch.
The winner of yesterday’s game is to play the Bayport-Islip winner tomorrow at the site of the higher seed. A best-of-three final series will decide the Class A championship.
League VI’s regular season ended with Sayville in first, at 16-3, followed by East Hampton, at 14-5, Shoreham-Wading River, at 13-6, Miller Place, at 12-7, and Rocky Point, at 11-8.
Islip defeated East Hampton 4-2 in a crossover on May 2, though all of the Buccaneers’ runs were unearned. “We were winning that game 2-0 and Casey had a no-hitter going until we made four errors in the sixth and two in the seventh,” Reale recalled. “We can beat anybody and we can lose to anybody. That’s the way it is with everyone. It [the playoffs] should be fun.”