Less than halfway through the season, the Eastport South Manor softball team was already close this week to clinching a berth in the Suffolk County Class A postseason.
The Lady Sharks were 8-0 in League V play after two victories last week, and with two more victories this week ESM would be guaranteed a playoff spot, with the magic number to make the playoffs being 10 wins. Sayville (8-0 in League VI play) is the only other Class A team that is undefeated, and ESM was slated to play the Lady Golden Flashes on Thursday, April 25, at 4:30 p.m.
ESM head coach Laura Ward said she was very pleased with how her team has fared so far this season, but she stayed mum when the subject of the playoffs came up.
“We’re playing day by day, one game at a time,” she said. “We’re focusing on whichever team we’re playing that day.”
After defeating East Hampton, 12-1, at home on April 17, ESM clobbered Elwood/John Glenn, 22-0, on the Lady Knights’ home field the following day. The Lady Sharks hit three home runs in the route of Glenn last week. Dana Taglioni, Jackie Chester and Marissa Rizzi all went yard. Chester went 4 for 4 with a grand slam and a career-high eight RBIs. It was her third home run of the season, and she was a double shy of hitting for the cycle. Taglioni hit her first homer of the season and drove in four RBIs. Rizzi was 3 for 4 with three RBIs and also hit her first round-tripper of the season.
Rizzi was also the starting pitcher for ESM and went the first three innings of the game, then Amanda Rose pitched the final two innings of what was a mercy rule-shortened game.
The win over East Hampton was a little more competitive. Rizzi smacked a run-scoring triple to left in the first inning that scored Nina Gaita from first base, and the Lady Sharks kept a 1-0 advantage until the third inning, when they added three runs.
Taglioni led off the bottom of the third with a triple, then Gaita reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners. Chester then stepped to the plate and hit a bases-clearing triple to left center field, and Kailah Konkel drove in Chester with a single to left.
The Lady Sharks then broke out for seven runs in the fourth inning.
Rizzi pitched a complete game and struck out seven, with one walk and four hits. She also went 3 for 4 at the plate. Christina Rizzi went 4 for 4 with four RBIs, while Gaita finished 3 for 5.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Monday, 4/22, vs. Mt. Sinai; Wednesday, 4/24, at Sayville, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 4/26, vs. Rocky Point, 4 p.m.