The Eastport South Manor softball team’s season came to an end Tuesday when it fell 6-1 to Floral Park in the regional semifinals for the Long Island Class A Title at Mitchel Field in Uniondale.
The Lady Sharks season was a successful one. They finished the regular season with a 15-3 record, good enough for third place in League V. Then they defeated Sayville, Hauppauge and Kings Park to win the Suffolk County Class A championship.
Though he wanted them to go upstate and battle for a state championship, ESM head coach Steve Giacolone said he was pleased with the way his girls played throughout the season.
“It’s something you can never take away from them—they’re a county champ,” he said. Still, “it’s devastating when you lose. Whether we lost here or did happen to get to the state finals and lose, it would have been devastating, too. For them, it’s more about being together than anything else.”
ESM had two chances to take an early lead in Tuesday’s game. Junior Catherine Havens and senior Amber Jones led off the contest with four-pitch walks and advanced to second and third on a double steal. Senior Chelsea Kull came to the plate with one out and lined out to Floral Park pitcher Sam Giovanniello, who then threw to third baseman Sara Yackel who tagged a diving Havens for the final out in the inning.
In the third inning, junior Lady Shark Devin McKinnon led off with a double and reached third when first baseman Allison Bostrom fielded a Natalie Vero bunt, but threw the ball in the dirt when trying to hit second baseman Angelica Titor who was covering at first. After Vero took second base, Havens struck out and Jones lined out to left fielder Kristina Santoro who then threw out McKinnon while she was trying to tag up from third base to end the threat.
ESM’s two failed chances were a sign of things to come as Floral Park scored all six of its runs in the bottom of the third inning. The Lady Sharks made three errors and Giovanniello hit a three-run home run for Floral Park. Though ESM got on the board the next inning—courtesy of an RBI triple by senior Ashley Mendez that scored senior Brianna Clarke from first base—the six-run third seemed to take the wind out of ESM’s sails.
“If we didn’t give up those six runs in that inning, maybe things would have been different,” Giacolone said.
Clarke, Mendez, Kull, Jones, Melanie Boccio, Amanda Brisson, Alexis Mortenson, Gina Petchonka, Chelsea Stumpo and Alyssa Toth all graduate later this month. Most of the girls spent at least three years on the varsity squad.
“It’s been a great run with this group,” Giacolone said. “I’m glad they got an opportunity to feel what it’s like to be a champion, cause they are champions.
“But, at the same time, it’s tough to see these young ladies go,” he continued. “They worked hard for me. They love each other, they respect each other and, unfortunately, we just couldn’t go any further than the county.”