Wantagh caps perfect streak

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A small roster hasn’t prevented a big winning streak for Wantagh softball.

The Lady Warriors captured their 17th straight win to open the season last Friday with a 13-0 win at Valley Stream North. Wantagh completed an unbeaten season in Conference AB-III despite entering the season with just one returning starter and only 12 players thanks to the resurrection of a junior varsity program following a six-year absence.

“It’s a small number but the right twelve,” Wantagh coach Christine Moran said. “They all pick each other up.”

Junior pitching ace Shayna DeRosa has accounted for much of Wantagh’s winning ways with 12 victories in the circle. She tossed a complete-game three-hitter with 13 strikeouts in 1-0 extra innings win against Island Trees on April 30 to give Wantagh its 13th straight win to open the season  

Senior Nicole Tague and seventh grader Julia Maniscalo have also contributed to the Warriors’ deep pitching staff.  Tague recorded six strikeouts in a 19-3 win at Wheatley on April 11. Maniscalco surrendered only two hits through five innings of work in a 12-0 win against Herricks on April 9.

The Wantagh bats have given their pitchers plenty of run support led largely by power in the middle of the lineup from sophomore shortstop Emily Van O’Linda and junior third baseman Nalani O’Brien. Van O’Linda, who garnered All-Conference Honorable Mention accolades as freshman last year, smacked a grand slam during Wantagh’s 10-2 win against Oyster Bay last Thursday. O’Brien was instrumental in the Warriors’ 8-3 April 4 victory at Island Trees with a two-run homer.

Senior right fielder Kayley Butcher has sparked Wantagh’s offense in the leadoff slot. Butcher’s speed was on full display when she hit a two-run triple in the April 4 Island Trees victory.

Moran has also been impressed by the play of senior outfielder Katie Skaar, who is making the most of her finals days in a Wantagh uniform with several big hits. She drove in four runs during a 10-5 win at Herricks on May 6 and hit three home runs during the Warrior’s undefeated regular season run.

“Everything I thought she could become as a player she has become,” said Moran of Skaar’s big senior campaign. “She has been lights out.”

In preparation for the upcoming Class A playoffs, Moran scheduled a non-conference game Monday against Northport, which competes in one of Suffolk County’s top conferences. Moran is hoping the tough competition will set the Warriors up for an extended postseason run.

“It’s a good tune-up for us,” Moran said. “They are a very good Suffolk County team.”

Wantagh is slated to enter the playoffs as a 13 seed and will be looking to advance at least to the quarterfinals after dropping a 7-6 heartbreaker to Mepham in the first round of last year’s playoffs. Moran credits her senior class with positioning the Warriors to make postseason magic after a memorable regular season.

“I have great senior leadership,” she said. “It’s a family atmosphere.”