Following last week’s 14-0 loss at the hands of Miller Place, Lou Reale, East Hampton High’s softball coach, said it seemed his kids had taken a step backward.
This week it was his pitcher Casey Waleko’s back that took a step backward. She started last Thursday’s game at Westhampton Beach, but, with her back acting up — as it had all last season — gave way to Dylan Schleider, one of Reale’s numerous ninth graders, near the end of the game, which East Hampton won 12-9.
“This game wasn’t pretty either,” Reale said. “We jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but they came back. The first time, Casey overpowered them, giving up one hit and striking out 15. This time, she gave up 12 hits and struck out five. . . . She’s taking it day by day. We were supposed to play Rocky Point today [Saturday], but didn’t. Had we played, Casey wouldn’t have.”
“I don’t know what the exact diagnosis was. She was told to take the summer off and did, and then when we were inside earlier this spring she looked great, but whatever it is her back, her lower back, is bothering her again. When she came out, I asked if she wanted to play a field position, but she said no.”
Thanks to four hits and two errors, Westhampton, said Reale, pulled to within 8-6 after five innings. Down 12-6 in the bottom of the seventh, the Hurricanes tacked on three more and had runners at first and second base with two out when Rachel Kalafut, the first baseman, snagged a foul pop off the first-base line to end the game.
Maddie Schenck, East Hampton’s eighth-grade catcher, went 2-for-3 with three runs driven in; Emma Norris had three hits and two r.b.i., and Zoe Daunt, a ninth grader, doubled.
Reale’s crew also played Sayville last week, on Friday.
“I put the book away without looking at it,” Reale said during a conversation over the weekend, “and now I remember why. We had one, two, three, four, five . . . nine, 10, 11 errors from the fourth inning on. Eleven errors in four innings. They won 15-5. They put their starter, who’s been having control problems, in in the seventh. That’s when we scored four of our runs. She walked seven of our batters in a row, she hit two, and there were six passed balls. She was throwing the ball everywhere.”
Asked if East Hampton had “any big hits,” Reale replied, “No, not really.”
Schleider pitched that day, and “was around the plate,” he said. “She pitched pretty well. They were hitting the ball but we couldn’t catch it.”
With four wins as of Monday and eight games left to play, Reale said the playoffs were pretty much out of the question — for the second year in a row. “To make them,” he said, “you have to go 10-10.”
He and his assistant, the former high school and collegiate all-American pitcher Jessie Stavola, were to have conducted clinics Sunday for East Hampton’s Little League girls.