What a difference a week makes.
After losing four straight games to fall below .500 and spiral down the League VI standings, the East Hampton softball team got back on track in a big way last week, with three consecutive shutout, blowout wins.
The Lady Bonackers hit a soft spot in their schedule, with a trio of games against traditionally weaker opponents, and they pounced, winning games against Comsewogue, Bellport and Harborfields by a combined score of 30-0. East Hampton started the win streak with a 14-0 home win over Comsewogue on April 24 that lasted only five innings due to the mercy rule. After that, East Hampton beat Bellport, 7-0, on the road on Friday, led by Casey Waleko, who tossed her first career no-hitter. Waleko had a perfect game going into the bottom of the seventh inning before a pair of errors broke it up. But she was as sharp as she’s been all year, striking out 15 batters with no walks. Waleko was also her team’s star at the plate, going 5 for 5 with two doubles, three singles and two RBIs. Cecelia Fioriello also had a good game, going 2 for 3 with a triple and RBI, while eighth-grader Avery Balnis had three hits.
Waleko has had an up and down year due to a nagging back injury, but she was feeling well enough last week to get the no hitter. She also came back the next day and struck out eight with three walks and two hits in a 9-0 home win over Harborfields. East Hampton scored seven runs in the third inning, highlighted by RBI doubles from both Emma Norris and Annie Schuppe and an RBI single by Ilsa Brzezinski.
East Hampton head coach Lou Reale said it was good to see his team get back to a .500 record, but he added that his team still has a lot of work to do if it wants to secure a spot in the Class A playoffs. Starting this week, East Hampton will be taking on tougher teams again, facing League VI opponents that it lost to the first time around, such as Rocky Point, as well as tough League V teams, such as Islip.
“We have to beat some of those teams that beat us, or we’re going to be in trouble again,” Reale said. “It was good battling back to 6-6, but it’s been a battle just to get there.”
The Lady Bonackers have been hurt in losses by what Reale says has been a failure to master the fundamentals of the game. He said the team practiced for more than three hours to try to address those issues, and is hoping his players can come together with a better effort in the latter part of the season so they get to the playoffs and try to get back to the county title series, which they lost last year to eventual state champion Sayville.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Wednesday, 5/1, at Islip, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 5/3, vs. Rocky Point, 4:30 p.m.; Monday, 5/6, at Mount Sinai, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 5/9, vs. Westhampton Beach, 4:30 p.m.