ESM stuns East Hampton as Lady Hurricanes stay in contention for playoffs

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The Eastport South Manor softball team arguably played one of its best games of the season with a win over East Hampton last week, while the Westhampton Beach softball team won one of its two games to stay in contention for the playoffs.

Eastport South Manor

The Lady Sharks headed into their home game with 2007 Class A state finalist East Hampton on April 23 the winners of their last seven games with their latest loss coming on April 3 in Kings Park. In order to keep that winning streak intact they had to go through the undefeated Lady Bonackers and lights-out pitcher Jessie Stavola.

With the game lasting nine innings, Eastport South Manor (9-1 League V, 10-1 overall) won the Division III crossover, 1-0, in spectacular fashion.

Amber Jones led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk. The next batter, Melanie Bascio, bunted the ball to sacrifice Jones over to second base, but the ball was thrown low and out of the reach of East Hampton’s first baseman, giving ESM runners on second and third with one out. Chelsea Kull was intentionally walked to load the bases and create a force-out at home plate. Brianna Clarke then stepped up to the plate and, on a 3-1 count, ripped a single to drive home Jones for the winning run and bring East Hampton’s 45-game winning streak against League V and VI opponents to an end.

“I’m glad the hit was a clean hit,” Eastport South Manor head coach Steve Giacolone said about Clarke’s game-winning knock. “It wasn’t a controversial play; there was nothing East Hampton could have done about it. But when push comes to shove, it was a game that neither team could afford to make a mistake.”

As the score would indicate, there was not a lot of offense throughout the game, thanks in large part to outstanding pitching by both teams. Eastport South Manor starting pitcher Catherine Havens gave up four hits and struck out 13, and East Hampton’s Stavola allowed just three hits and struck out 20. Havens did not allow a walk while Stavola allowed two, but Giacolone would not necessarily say that Havens outpitched the East Hampton star pitcher.

“Havens pitched a very good game,” he said. “She kept them off balance and our defense only made one error, which wasn’t costly, and we tracked down every fly ball. That’s a credit to the team and we’re going to win based on how our team is playing behind her.”

Havens has now pitched three consecutive shutouts and has given up just one run in 51 innings pitched, and has only walked four batters the entire season.

“Overall, she has been pitching very, very well all season,” Giacolone said. “Obviously, you need someone like that on the mound, but you need a team behind her as well.”

Giacolone also praised Bascio who started behind the plate. She threw out three runners attempting to steal second base.

“Instead of trying to bunt the runners over, East Hampton tried to steal bases early on and they got to see how good Melanie’s arm is,” he said.

Eastport South Manor played Wednesday at Miller Place. The girls will be home today to face Comsewogue at 4 p.m.

Westhampton Beach

For the most part, the Lady Hurricanes have had an up and down season. The longest winning streak they have had all season was three games and thanks to that, they are still in contention to make the playoffs.

Westhampton Beach (6-4 League VI, 6-5 overall) played in Kings Park on April 23 and won 7-1, but then returned home the following day and lost 3-1 to Hauppauge.

In the win against Kings Park, Alyssa Clancy struck out 12, gave up just four hits with no walks, and, according to Lady Hurricanes head coach Kelly LeMin, everyone else just came out swinging the bats. Sophia Geraci led the offense, going 3 for 4 with three runs scored and an RBI.

On April 24, the Lady Hurricanes had a 1-0 lead heading into the fifth inning, but Christina Telesco’s two-run single gave Hauppauge a 2-1 lead and eventual win in the Division III crossover. Ciara Harsch later drove in Telesco on a suicide squeeze for the third run. Nicole Ehlinger pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits, one earned run and three strikeouts.

Clancy had another double-digit strikeout game with 10 and gave up five hits, one walk and hit a batter. Geraci had another 3-for-4 game while Stephanie DiCapua was 2 for 4 with an RBI.

“We just have to keep playing strong to make the playoffs,” LeMin said.

The Lady Hurricanes were home on Wednesday to face Huntington. They will be in Harborfields on Thursday at 4 p.m.

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