A youthful East Meadow softball team finished runner-up to Massapequa in Nassau Class AA.
The Jets were unable to score against Massapequa pitcher Kim Westenberg in the best-of-three county championship series, falling 12-0 in the opener on June 10 and dropping Game 2 last Saturday, 4-0. It’s the first title in program history for the Chiefs.
“Massapequa was the better team and we can’t take anything away from them,” East Meadow coach Stew Fritz said. “Our girls played hard right until the end. We knew we were going to play a better game than we did at their place. We were hyped and threatened right away in the bottom of the first, but we couldn’t break through.”
Westenberg allowed just two hits in the series and no-hit the Jets in Game 1. “She was dominant,” Fritz said. “It was their year. We had a very young team and it’s a group that’s willing to put the time in to get better.”
Second-seeded East Meadow finished 9-9 overall in Fritz’s final season at the helm. He took over as varsity coach in 2012 and guided the Jets to five Nassau and Long Island championships, plus two state crowns.
“It was a great run and I’ve been fortunate to coach hundreds of great kids and work with as good of an assistant [Becky Mattia] and JV coach [Kristina Cavallo] as anyone could ask for,” Fritz said.
The Jets were led this spring by senior pitcher Alex Kelly, who earned All-County honors. She was the starter in 2019 and helped lead the team to the county and L.I. titles as a sophomore. “Alex picked where she left off two years ago,” Fritz said. “She struck out 157 in 97 innings and kept us in a lot of games.”
Junior outfielders Grace Pohalski (All-County) and Ciana Santana (Honorable Mention All-County), junior Katie Belfield (first base) and freshman Madison Lehmann (third base) led the offense. Pohalski batted .400 and made a highlight-reel defensive play in center with a diving catch to preserve a 2-0 win over Oceanside during the regular season. Lehmann had three homers and 13 RBIs, including a grand slam in a 14-2 victory over Farmingdale in the Class AA quarterfinals.
Kelly, juniors Megan Martiello and Malia Molina, and sophomore catcher Lily Finucane came up big in a 4-3 win over Oceanside in the semifinals. Molina had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the sixth inning. Finucane scored the winning run after driving in the first run of the game.