After putting a nine-game Conference I losing streak to rest by winning its regular-season finale, Oceanside entered the Nassau Class AA softball playoffs with a fresh start and made the most of it last Friday against visiting Calhoun.
The sixth-seeded Lady Sailors pulled out a pitcher’s duel, winning 2-1 in walk-off fashion on Ellen Derr’s run-scoring single in the bottom of the seventh inning. Derr, who started the season at second base but became the starting pitcher after injuries to junior Paige Seitz and freshman Elizabeth Campo, allowed just three hits and two walks. Senior Kristen Gallub, who singled to open the seventh, scored the decisive run with one out.
“Both teams played excellent defensively,” said Oceanside coach Joe Supple, whose team advanced to meet No. 3 Mepham in the quarterfinals. “There was only one error and no strikeouts,” he added. “We didn’t know a lot about Calhoun, but they played well. It was a tough game.”
Derr, a junior, and Calhoun sophomore Lauren Trimarco matched zeroes until the bottom of the fourth when the Lady Sailors broke through for the game’s first run. Sophomore Megan McNamara and freshman Grace Bandini cracked back-to-back singles to get the rally going, and McNamara came around to score on junior Jeannie Callanan’s groundout.
The Lady Colts, who finished fourth in Conference II to earn their first playoff berth in more than a decade, pulled even in the top of the sixth. Junior Lauren Savarese drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. After Derr recorded the second out on an infield pop, sophomore Allison Abbene brought home Savarese with a single to make it 1-1.
“We were a play at the plate away from going extra innings,” Calhoun coach Jason Boland said. “We’re going to miss the seniors who helped get us here, and I’m glad our younger girls got to experience the playoffs. I couldn’t be more proud. The girls showed they belonged.”
Trimarco, who scattered six hits, retired Oceanside in order in the bottom of the sixth. Derr allowed a two-out single in an uneventful top of the seventh, setting the tone for the heroics in the home half. “Ellen’s gotten stronger with every inning she’s pitched,” Supple said. “She knows how good the defense can be behind her, and she’s been able to keep the ball around the plate.”
After Gallub’s single to begin the winning rally, sophomore Priscilla Perez reached on an error. Seitz, who returned to action earlier in the week, advanced both runners with a perfectly placed bunt. “They knew the bunt was coming, but Paige did a great job getting it down,” Supple said. The bases were loaded after Gallub and Perez had to hold on freshman Taylor Eisel’s infield single, and next came Derr. On a two-hop grounder to second, Gallub, running on contact, beat the throw to the plate to win it.
“We went through a pretty rough stretch,” Supple said of the late-season slide. “We had back-to-back blowout losses to East Meadow and MacArthur, and after that we took on a new mentality. I’m proud of how the girls fought through it, and we’re right back in the quarterfinals.”