Learning Experiences Abound as Spring Season Begins

“It’s time to step up”
Matt Maloney, the girls lacrosse coach, says the team has yet to reach its potential. Jack Graves

   The East Hampton High School teams that played Monday, which is to say boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, and baseball, lost, though the season is young and the teams are young.
    The week’s sole good news lay in the boys track team’s 76-64 league-opener loss at Miller Place. Chris Reich, the head coach, said in an e-mail account that “it was the closest we’ve come to beating Miller Place in three years. We have a great chance of winning a lot of meets this season.”
    Miller Place won the distance races, though the Bonackers did well in the field events and in the shorter races. East Hampton, with Evan Larsen, John Grogan, and Nick Tulp, swept the 400; Keaton Crozier won the long and triple jumps; Will Ellis won the 110-meter high hurdles and was second in the triple; Thomas King won the high jump; Josh King won the shot-put; Liam Kessler was second in the 100; Hunter Kelsey was second in the 200, and the 4-by-100 relay team of Kessler, Kelsey, Brent Henry, and Wanya Reid won.
    Matt Maloney, the girls lacrosse coach, said following a 16-5 trouncing here at the hands of a strong Babylon team that his players needed to go harder in practices.
    “It’s time to step up,” he told the girls during a lengthy soul-searching postgame huddle in the bitter cold.
    “We’ve not lived up to our potential yet,” he said as the team was leaving the field.
    When asked if the lopsided score were owing to an inexperienced defense, he said, “It was the offense too. We only scored 5 goals.”
The girls, who are hoping to repeat as a playoff team, will have time to figure things out this week, Maloney added, before the season resumes in earnest.
    Lou Reale, the softball coach, in reporting his team’s 7-5 league-opener loss at Rocky Point, said he was “pleased with the way we hit the ball — Rocky Point’s pitcher is one of the better ones in our league. What hurt us were errors and base-running mistakes. Six of their runs were unearned.”
    Casey Waleko, still recovering from a back injury, wasn’t sharp. She struck out seven, but walked six.
    “We threw the ball around in the first inning and gave them two runs,” said Reale. “We came back in the top of the third to tie it. They scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth. We scored three in the top of the seventh — Courtney Dess hit a solo home run, and Casey, Ali [Harned], Ellie [Cassel], and Ilsa [Brzezinski] all hit singles, though Ilsa was thrown out trying to stretch hers into a double. Shannon McCaffrey also doubled, but she was caught off second when their third baseman caught a foul off the line and threw her out.”
    “Theoretically, we can straighten out things like throwing to the wrong base and base-running mistakes, but we don’t have any experience. Anyway, the Florida trip will help. At least the weather will be better! We’ll have five scrimmages down there and we’ll get to work on things.”
Likewise, the boys lacrosse team lost its league opener Monday at Bayport-Blue Point, by a score of 15-7.
    Mike Vitulli, the team’s coach, said his players too were young, though the team, because of the flu, was shorthanded that day.
    The first half was disastrous. The home team led 10-1 at the break, but East Hampton outscored the Phantoms 6-5 in the second frame, with Daley Pagano, who had replaced Mikey Jara, in the goal.
    Cort Heneveld scored 4 goals and had 2 assists, Drew Harvey had 2 and 2, Tyler Shaw had 1 goal, and Jack ­Schleicher had 1 assist.
    In other recent action, the boys lost 14-9 to North Babylon, though the good news lay in the fact that East Hampton’s scoring was widespread. Harvey had 2 goals and 4 assists; Heneveld had 2 assists; John Pizzo had 2 goals, and Regis O’Neil, R.J. Notel, Jamie Wolf, Seamus McLaughlin, and Schleicher each found the nets once. Jara had 10 saves.
    “Once we get the flu bug off our backs we’ll be all right,” said Vitulli. “O’Neil and Schleicher are freshmen and we’ve got a lot of sophomores. It’s a steep learning curve.”
    Shani Cuesta, the girls track coach, underwent a trial by fire too, “to say the least,” she said, in recounting the girls’ first home meet of the season this past week with powerhouse Miller Place.
    Cuesta is now the head coach given the retirement of Diane O’Donnell, though, besides the myriad details that require attention during the course of a meet, she’s also overseeing a young team that numbers around 50.
    “Because the weather was so brutal, we decided that once 75 points were reached, we’d end it,” Cuesta said in an e-mail account.
    “The scorers for us were Nina Piacentine, who won the 1,500-meter racewalk; Gabbie McKay, who was second in the triple jump; Dana Cebulski, who was second in the 400; Taliya Hayes, who was second in the discus and third in the shot-put; Katie Mendoza, who was third in the triple jump, and Amanda Calabrese, who was third in the 100-meter high hurdles.”
    Cuesta added that because the new pole vault and high jump mats had arrived the morning of the meet “we were unable to prepare for those events, and, as a result, gave up 17 points to Miller Place, hard hits for us. Hopefully we’ll be able to practice with them this week and be better prepared for our meet at Sayville next Thursday [April 4].”