East Meadow had already erased Oceanside’s five-run lead when Amy Mallah made a dash for home plate.
A minor bobble on a relay throw of Amanda Thompson’s game-tying hit in the top of the seventh inning allowed Mallah to complete East Meadow’s major comeback. She slid in safely for the go-ahead run and the top-seeded Lady Jets captured a third straight Nassau Class AA softball title with a 7-5 victory in Game 2 at Hofstra last Saturday afternoon.
“I saw the opportunity to go home and be ahead and I knew that I had to do it for my team,” said Mallah, a senior who went 3-for-4 and scored twice. “That’s what I had to do in order for us to win and I just gave it my all and it worked out,” she added. “We never feel like we’re out of a game.”
No. 2 Oceanside scored all five of its runs in the bottom of the third, with sophomore Ashley Corr’s two-run single serving as the highlight, but was unable to force the series to a decisive third game. East Meadow (18-4), which took Game 1, 7-2, last Friday behind junior Juliana Sanzone’s two homers and four RBIs, scored once in the fifth, three times in the sixth and three more in the seventh.
“The kids keep fighting,” East Meadow coach Stew Fritz said. “They’re a special group that’s been in similar situations before. We definitely made some mistakes, especially on the bases. They were able to overcome it. They’ve got that championship pedigree.”
The Lady Jets, who rallied from four runs down to defeat Longwood in last year’s Long Island Class AA title game, will try to Three-Peat as L.I. champs this Friday at 7 p.m. against Commack at the Eastport Athletic Complex in Manorville.
Oceanside finished 14-11 and will return its entire starting lineup. “We had the formula to win, but our offense wasn’t there,” Lady Sailors coach Carlo Quagliata said. “It’s disappointing, but the girls tried their best and we expect to be back here next year.”
As the home team in Game 2, Oceanside’s bottom of the order sparked the offense in the third against East Meadow sophomore hurler Alexandra Kelly, who otherwise tossed six scoreless innings. Junior Catherine Stanford, who was dynamic in center field throughout the playoffs, drove in junior Catherine Henn (2-for-3) with the game’s first run on a fielder’s choice and scored the second when junior Rebecca Bauman was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Corr knocked in juniors Emily Seaver and Elena Rubino with a line-drive single for a 4-0 lead, then junior Hallie Neufeld capped the outburst with a single to score Bauman. “We know they’ve got some quality hitters,” Fritz said. “Nobody said this would be easy.”
Oceanside’s freshman pitcher Skylar LoPiccolo showed plenty of poise in the circle and allowed no runs and three singles through four innings. Two of those hits came in the top of the fourth, sandwiched around a terrific running catch in deep left-center by Stanford and a nifty inning-ending double play by sophomore shortstop Courtney Murphy.
Junior Stephanie Christoforatos singled in Kelly in the fifth to get East Meadow on the board. Then freshman Grace Pohalski keyed the rally in the sixth, roping a single to score Sanzone and Mallah and then scoring to make it 5-4 on Kelly’s single.
Kelly then stranded Oceanside runners on first and second in the bottom of the inning, setting the stage for the seventh.
“We’re so excited,” said Thompson, a junior who went 2-for-4. “We’re going to try to go to states.”