V.S. South answers new challenge


Valley Stream South had a great deal of success last spring in crossover games against higher-ranked softball teams, sweeping its Conference AB-V opponents on the way to capturing its first conference title since 2014.

Now up two notches in Conference IV, thanks in large part to the talents of pitcher Isabella Secaira-Cotto, the Lady Falcons are trying to step up to another challenge.

“It’s important to show we can hang with and beat some teams ranked above us,” coach Demetri Adrahtas said after VSS defeated Herricks, 14-6, on April 11 behind an offense led by eighth-grader Trinity Smiley and sophomore Sarah Desrosiers. “We showed a lot of growth last season and we want to do the same this season,” he added. “Plus, these crossovers are conference games. Even if you do well against your own conference, you might not win it without taking some of the crossovers.”

The victory over Herricks, one of five Conference III opponents on the Lady Falcons’ schedule, upped VSS’s record to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in AB-IV. The only blemish so far is to AB-III front-running Wantagh. “They’re off to a tremendous start,” Adrahtas said of Wantagh. “They’ve been beating everyone handily.”

South came out swinging against Herricks and scored at least once in each of the first five innings. Freshman shortstop Ysabela Quinones got a two-run bottom of the first jumpstarted with a leadoff triple. “We’re in the process of putting up a fence,” Adrahtas said. “If it was up there already, Ysabela would’ve cleared it for a home run.”

The hosts added three runs in the second before Herricks cut the margin to 5-3 in the top of the third on a two-out, three-run homer off the bat of Dina Saketos. But that was as close as the Lady Highlanders would get as South added four runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to put the game out of reach.

Smiley, described by Adrahtas as “one of the best athletes in the school,” went 2-for-2 (single/triple) and three RBIs. “The sky is the limit for Trinity,” he said. “She’s a little raw but developing quickly.” Desrosiers had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice, while Secaira-Cotto struck out 14.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by our offense,” Adrahtas said. “Where we need to improve is in the field. We’ve allowed nine unearned runs in the last two games. As the weather warms, we expect teams to put the bat on the ball a little more. That means we’ll need to field it more.”

Secaira-Cotto is averaging 17 strikeouts through eight games and reached that number April 9 in an 8-6 win over Mineola. Smiley provided a jolt in the bottom of the first with a three-run homer. Other conference wins have come against Oyster Bay, Sewanhaka and Glen Cove.

Secaira-Cotto blanked Glen Cove, 12-0, on April 4 and received all the run support she needed from senior Adriana Heneghan, who homered and doubled twice and either scored or drove in half of the runs.