In the only regular season meeting between the Rocky Point and Eastport South Manor softball teams, the Lady Sharks sat on a three-run lead as the Lady Eagles took what should have been their final trip to the plate, only to see that lead evaporate before losing a heartbreaking 7-6 decision in extra innings.
When the teams met again in the second round of the Suffolk County Class A playoffs on May 23, the Lady Sharks found themselves ahead by three after four innings and while Rocky Point staged a comeback in the top of the sixth, ESM managed to hang on for a 3-2 victory on its home field.
The second seed Lady Sharks continued on in the winner’s bracket and played three and a half innings against top seed Miller Place on May 24 before the game was postponed due to rain. The Lady Panthers led 6-5 and were at bat when the game was called and was scheduled to be completed on May 28. For full results from this game, visit www.27east.com.
The loss moved sixth seed Rocky Point to the loser’s bracket to face fourth seed Sayville on May 24. The teams managed to get the game completed in spite of poor weather in the area and Sayville won 4-3 to move on while the Lady Eagles were sent packing. Sayville will play the Miller Place/ESM loser on May 29. The winner of the game will advance to the county final to play the Miller Place/ESM winner for the county title on May 30.
Pitchers Annie Kennedy and Marissa Rizzi kept the offense from getting anything going on either side in the second round game. During the first three and a half innings, Rocky Point managed to draw three walks and a single while ESM had just one baserunner on a walk.
But Nina Gaita finally broke the offensive bore in the bottom of the fourth as she led off the inning with a solid double to left centerfield. After Rizzi popped out foul, Jackie Chester followed with a ground ball to shortstop that was overthrown to first base, allowing Gaita to score the first run of the game as Chester moved to second. Kailah Konkel followed with a walk, but not before Chester advanced to third on an illegal pitch from Kennedy. With runners at the corners, Samantha Vosper, who replaced an injured Hope Benkert earlier in the game, hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield. Kennedy fell as she reacted to the hit and no other Rocky Point infielders managed to make the play before both Chester and Konkel, who stole second during Vosper’s at bat, scored.
Rocky Point was sat down in order in the top of the fifth but did put a scare in the Lady Sharks in the top of the sixth, scoring two runs on two outs, however, the Lady Eagles stranded the tying run on third and go-ahead run at first.
“Coming into this game, we were thinking let’s come out strong because last game we didn’t hit well right away,” Lady Shark Kailah Konkel said. “After we didn’t hit the first time around, we were just thinking get on any way we can so we started bunting and doing other things to put the ball in play. We’re very adaptive and a very strong team.”