Oceanside on rise as playoffs near


Winning four of the last five games and with two more games left in the regular season, coach Carlo Quagliata sees the Oceanside softball team is on the upswing.

“We’ve been hitting again; we had a lull a little bit,” Quagliata said, describing how a tough loss to Syosset was the start of a paradigm shift before a series of consecutive wins. “Then we came back and got Farmingdale, a great team, continued with the win against Mepham and MacArthur, so the bats have come around a lot lately, which is good, we’ve needed that.”

That made for a paradigm shift amongst the players, too.

“It’s like that with a lot of teams, when you put one or two wins together back to back, everyone grows confidence, it’s almost as if they can’t wait to get to the field these days,” he said. “When they’re down, they’re tight. They get a little quiet, they get a little chippy with each other; putting up a few good wins gives them confidence back.”

The starting nine is all set, from now until playoffs.

“Our infield is solid, we have our middle infielders [such as] Karley Handleman, who just get dirty in every play,” Quagliata said, detailing how dedicated the defense is get make plays and limit runs. “Riley Brasch at third base has made just about everything: she’s got a strong arm, quick legs, Maya Levy has been lights-out with the glove, and Logan Denman’s our anchor at first base.”

There’s also the leader behind the plate, catcher Sophie Nesturrick, who Quagliata said he believes is the best catcher in Nassau County, something he said he’ll say until the day he retires. Nesturrick led the hit parade in a May 1 win over Farmingdale, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs in an 11-2 victory.

“She’s a stud; if our pitchers are on, nobody can run against her,” coach detailed. “Sophie is a leader. Naturally behind the plate you want your catcher to be that leader, but she’s also our three-hitter. She leads by example, she’s got the highest average on the team, she’s one of the seniors who’s telling everyone ‘Have confidence, stay in the box, watch that spin, be careful.’ She sees the game like a coach.”

The starting outfield of senior Samantha Chaisson in center, senior Julia Valukis in left and junior Christina Vlahakis has been consistent, Quagliata said, in the field and at the plate.

In the circle, sophomore Caroline Ferchland has handled the bulk of innings and will be the starting pitcher entering the playoffs. Class AAA is pretty straightforward for Oceanside: Massepequa is the no. 1 seed, the battle for the second, third and fourth place seeding will go down between Oceanside, Syosset and Farmingdale, all three teams that are separated by half a game.

“We all got wins against each other, we’ve all beat each other, so it’s [seeds] two, three and four left up in the air, we have no idea,” Quagliata explained. “Season ends Wednesday so Monday we’ll be clearer a little more but Wednesday we’ll know for sure who’s where. East Meadow will be the five-[seed] and Plainview is locked into the six. Seven and eight are still up in the air as well.”

With that in mind, there’s only one final message: “We’re excited for playoffs and we’re excited to get there, he just hope we’re going in there hot and can stay consistent.”