South Side in winning form


South Side’s ace pitcher Morgan Gilligan delivered a two-hit, 10-strikeout, 89-pitch complete-game shutout in a 14-0 victory at Glen Cove last Friday in a Nassau Conference ABC-III/IV softball crossover matchup.

“She’s the rock of our team,” coach Nicole Tufano said after the Lady Cyclones improved to 6-2. “She is a great pitcher, she is an all-around great ballplayer, can hit to all fields, and has plenty of pitches to punch people out.”

Gilligan’s great all-around game also reared its head, as her first two at-bats resulted in home runs, padding an early lead that she would work behind in the circle all day long. She would finish 3-for-5 with six RBI’s and 3 runs scored.

She adds this pitching gem to her tremendous start, adding a third win and another high-strikeout performance, last striking out nine against East Rockaway on April 5.

Nafeesah Ali, Glen Cove’s starting pitcher, sacrificed only two runs through the first two innings, but scoreless frames from her offense opened the floodgates for South Side’s offense to force more pitches and pick its spots.

Glen Cove saw its lone two hits come from infielders Alyssa Schmitt and Brianna Malvino. Only two other Lady Big Red players successfully reached base due to a pair of errors. Gilligan surrendered no walks on the day.

South Side’s Shannon Bender added three hits and two runs scored, with Mary Macre adding three RBI’s to the mix as well.

The Lady Cyclones piled up 14 hits to match its number of runs on the day, and the team effort is something Tufano sees regularly from her squad to tack on the W’s. “All of our girls have been working hard to hit to all fields, and when we string together hits, we string together runs,” Tufano said. “It’s a big confidence boost for them.”

Tufano, only four years removed from her college softball days, is a great role model and voice for her girls, assistant coach Mike DiGiaimo says. “She’s a perfect role model for these kids… She can relate to them, she can communicate with them, and whatever situation comes up in the game, she is aware of it, and they look to her as their leader,” DiGiaimo said.

DiGiaimo was audibly reiterating the importance of having fun in the post-game huddle. “We’ve preached from the beginning that we don’t want the girls to play tense, they’ve got to be loose,” DiGiaimo said. “When it is just you versus the pitcher in the box, and you walk up to the plate tense or nervous, you’re not going to be your best self. That’s a message we’ve sent to the girls from the beginning.”

South Side looks forward to a matchup with a crossover matchup with ABC-IV contender Lynbrook next. The Lady Cyclones also defeated Garden City and Bethpage last week. Katarina Mazzanobile had a walk-off two-run single to beat Bethpage, 6-5, on April 9, while Alexa Fingleton had two homers in a 16-1 win over Garden City two days later.