When Pierson softball head coach Melissa Edwards sees junior Kasey Gildbride step into the batter’s box, all her worries go away.
On May 7, with the Lady Whalers locked in a 4-4 tie on the road against Class C rival Port Jefferson, the shortstop came up to bat with the bases loaded in extra innings, and she delivered for her team in the biggest way possible, blasting a grand slam to provide what would be the final margin in an 8-4 victory. Gilbride drove in six of her team’s runs that day, adding a two-run homer in the first inning.
Edwards said her team didn’t have its best effort that day against a Port Jeff team that isn’t as strong as it has been in years past, but she said she was happy to see her players—most notably Gilbride—step up when it counted.
“Overall, I liked that we put things together when it really mattered,” she said. “We got people on, and once Kasey stepped in, I knew we had the game. I just have such confidence in that kid.”
Erika Seluykova, Emma Romeo and Lotti Evans all got on base in the top of the eighth before Gilbride brought them home with her shot. Pierson struggled to put away Port Jefferson due to “a few sloppy innings,” according to Edwards, but the team was also missing starting second baseman Sabrina Baum. Baum, who was ill, has been one of the best fielders for the team this season.
On May 11, Pierson was upended by League VIII leader Babylon for the second time this season, losing, 12-4, at home. It didn’t help that the Lady Whalers had to play without their most prolific hitter, Gilbride, who was playing in an Elite field hockey showcase. Edwards acknowledged that beating Babylon was a tall order without Gilbride, but said she would have hoped to see a better effort. “We should have had a closer game,” she said. “We just had a rough go defensively. They had a few legit hits, but we struggled a bit defensively.”
Pierson bounced back with a 3-1 win over Southold/Greenport on Monday night. Pitcher Sam Duchemin, who got the win, helped her cause by driving in three runs. The Lady Whalers improved to 9-6 with the win, good enough for second place behind Babylon (12-4).
The Lady Whalers were slated to start the Class C playoffs on Wednesday, May 22, at home at 4 p.m. Although an opponent had not yet been determined as of press time, Pierson—the defending Suffolk County and Long Island Class C champ—was expected to earn the top seed. In a change from last year, the playoffs this season will follow a double-elimination format. Four teams were expected to make the Class C bracket, but Babylon will not be one of those teams, as it plays in Class B.
The Southampton softball team fell to 3-12, 3-13 overall, after an 8-0 home loss to Bayport/Blue Point on May 10 and a 7-1 loss at Mattituck on Monday.