The Oceanside and Long Beach softball teams had some memorable battles during the regular season that went to the last inning before they were decided. But the rubber game was completely different.
Cat Stanford drove in five runs and fellow sophomore Hallie Neufeld went the distance for her sixth win of the season as No. 4 Oceanside used an 18-hit attack to dominate No. 5 Long Beach, 12-2, in the Nassau AA quarterfinals last Friday.
Senior Kaitlyn Schwarz had three hits and drove in two runs and sophomore Rebecca Bauman added three more hits for the Lady Sailors (9-9, 6-9 Conference AA-I), who will face defending state champion East Meadow in a three-game semifinal series that started on Monday after presstime.
“I told them [after the game], ‘You played the best game of your life,’” Oceanside coach Carlo Quagliata said. “They played the best game this year because they put everything together.”
The contest was the opposite of their two regular-season matchups. Long Beach scored three times in the ninth inning to steal a 11-10 win over Oceanside on April 5. On April 30, the Lady Marines rallied for five runs in the seventh inning before the Lady Sailors escaped for a 13-12 victory.
The Lady Sailors immediately jumped on Long Beach starter Jillian Domingo from the outset. With one out in the first inning, Stanford doubled and Schwarz reached on an infield single before sophomore slugger Emily Seaver tripled both of them home with a deep drive to left-center. Seaver scored on Elena Rubino’s sacrifice fly.
Oceanside took a 4-0 in the second inning when Stanford reached on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded.
The Lady Marines got two runs back in the fourth on Meredith Fagan’s RBI triple and Lainie Kassap’s sacrifice fly. They had a runner on first with one out later in the frame, but Oceanside second baseman Courtney Murphy snagged a line drive off the bat of Nicole Grandinetti and threw to first base to double off the runner.
“That’s a game changer because it takes the momentum away,” Long Beach coach Carmine Verde said.
Oceanside sent 11 batters to the plate in the fifth inning and scored five more runs to put the game away. Neufeld and Murphy had bases-loaded singles and Stanford was hit by a pitch to bring home the third run. Schwarz followed with a two-run single.
“Today, their offense was definitely better than our offense,” Verde said.
Stanford added a two-run single in the sixth. “It felt good,” Stanford said. “I saw them (play me to pull), so I decided to wait back on it and hit it to right field so I could get it in and get people to score.”
Neufeld took care of the rest by not walking a batter and striking out two while yielding eight hits.
The Lady Sailors nearly beat East Meadow on March 28. They had an 8-2 lead after two innings and a 13-12 advantage in the seventh before losing on a two-run, bases-loaded single.