One strike away from ending the regular season on a losing note, Long Beach rallied last Saturday to not only outlast Syosset, 9-5, in 10 innings, but also earn a share of the Nassau Conference AA-II softball title.
Senior Fiona Eramo, who scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th on an error, kept the Lady Marines alive in the seventh with a two-out, two-strike triple and was driven home by junior Jillian Domingo to make it 4-4. Sophomore Lainie Kassap and senior Samantha Kassap added RBIs in the decisive five-run 10th as the visitors batted around.
“It was a crazy game,” said coach Carmine Verde, who guided Long Beach to a 10-3 conference mark that included crossover wins against two-time defending county and L.I. champion East Meadow, Oceanside and Port Washington from the top conference. “Fiona tried to get on base with a couple of bunt attempts before crushing a 2-2 pitch,” he added. “Then Jillian lined a single over the shortstop’s head to tie it.”
Freshman pitcher Ashley Hastings earned the win over Syosset with 4 2/3 innings of relief of Domingo, who allowed just one earned run and struck out eight. They combined to throw 174 pitches. Senior Megan Korotz had a key two-run scoring at-bat in the 10th and went 3-for-5, and junior Katie Frisch (nine homers in 2019) scored twice.
“I love playing at Syosset because it’s a great venue,” Verde said. “It was their senior day and they played their hearts out. For us, it’s a great way to go into the playoffs.”
In addition to scoring the tying and go-ahead runs Eramo, made a tremendous defensive play in the bottom of the ninth. She made a diving catch in right field and doubled-off Syosset’s runner at first base. “Fiona had a huge game all around,” Verde said.
Despite a 9-5 win over East Meadow last month, Long Beach (12-6-1 overall) received the No. 7 seed, behind Hicksville, which lost to East Meadow, in the Nassau Class AA playoffs and will visit second-seeded Oceanside this Friday in the first round with the winner advancing to in the semifinals. In their only matchup with Oceanside this spring, the Lady Marines won 11-5 on April 12 thanks to a six-run outburst in the top of the first inning. Senior Nicole Grandinetti starred that day by going 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs.
“Long Beach-Oceanside should be a great game,” Verde explained. “It has been a competitive rivalry for years. They have an outstanding team.”
Long Beach kept itself in the conference title picture by avenging an early season loss to Hicksville with a 12-7 road victory over the Lady Comets on May 1. Lainie Kassap (3-for-3) and Laine Kassap (3-for-5) were the hitting stars as each blasted a pair of home runs and had four RBIs to back the efforts of Domingo in the circle. Eramo had two hits, two runs and knocked in a run.