Seaford knocks off Clarke

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Seaford coach Thomas Fiorglio enjoys the high level of play in Nassau softball as well as the challenge of facing top competition, but he was fine when the Lady Vikings broke their streak of nail-biters last week.

Freshman Jamie Horodecki went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored and sophomore pitcher Anna Butler took a shutout into the seventh inning April 11 as Seaford defeated host Clarke, 7-2, in a Conference AB-I/II crossover.

“It’s nice to have a couple of breakout games,” said Fioriglio, whose club doubled up Plainedge, 8-4, the previous day to snap a streak of five consecutive one-run games. “We have phenomenal group of girls and we’re solid at the plate, in the field and with our pitching,” he added. “We’re facing a lot of quality teams that we have a lot of respect for. It’s a wide-open race and we feel we’re right in the mix.”

Seaford, which improved to 4-3 against conference rivals, scored three times in the third, once in the fourth and three more in the seventh. Clarke (4-2), playing for a third straight day and minus a few key pieces due to various reasons, managed eight hits and scratched across both of its runs in its final at-bat.

“We started off the season hitting very well,” Lady Rams coach Rachel Barry said. “The past four games we haven’t hit as much, but we’re in the middle of a difficult week. I coach Butler in travel ball, so I know she’s a gamer who uses the whole plate and has good movement.”

Butler, who gained valuable varsity experience last spring, has emerged as one of the top pitchers in Nassau Class A. She blanked defending county champion Carey, 1-0, on its home field on April 2 and struck out 10 in the process. Against Clarke, she fanned seven and worked out of jams in the second, third and fifth innings.

“Anna’s our workhorse and she’s been strong and consistent,” Fioriglio said. “She’s stepped up as a team leader and we’re playing great defense behind her.”

After Butler struck out two batters to leave runners at the corners in the bottom of the second, the Lady Vikings got their bats going against Clarke’s hard-throwing sophomore Lola Reese. Junior Karyn Schaller drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on a hard double from senior Julie Hilcken. Horodecki followed with a single to right to make it 2-0 and scored on a double by Butler.

In the fourth, freshman Grace Cassarello (2-for-3) singled, stole second and scored on Schaller’s single for a 4-0 lead. Junior catcher Jordan Ragona’s two-run single highlighted a three-run seventh. Sophomore Cheralyn Duscharme, who has three homers this spring, and senior Briana Iadevaia drove in the Clarke runs.

Like Seaford, the Lady Rams were coming off a victory the previous afternoon, 5-2 over Carey. Junior Arianna Fracchioni earned the win in the circle and didn’t allow an earned run.

“We have a lot of young players starting,” Fioriglio said. “We’re playing good, fundamental softball.”