The field is set for the Suffolk County Class B softball playoffs, though the exact matchups will not be finalized until later this week.
Hampton Bays lost, 2-0, at Babylon on Monday and that outcome should help determine where teams fall once the playoff brackets are released later this week. They can be viewed online at www.sectionxi.org.
With the final regular season now over, and the standings set, it is fairly clear where the remaining teams should fall. Undefeated Center Moriches (15-0 League VI, 19-0 overall) should be the top seed and will most likely host Mercy (8-6 League VI), which should be the fourth seed. Babylon (12-3 League VI), due to its victory Monday, should secure the second seed and host Hampton Bays (10-5 League VI), the expected third seed.
The first round of the double-elimination formatted playoffs are expected to begin next Thursday, May 21, at the higher-seed’s home field. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m., though start times are tentative.
The Lady Baymen will have 10 days between their final regular season and first playoff game, which should help them. Meghan Harris and Marley Tyler, two important players for Hampton Bays, have been nursing injuries all season and the break should allow them to get closer to 100 percent.
Hampton Bays, of course, will also have more than a week to think about its loss in the season finale, where it could only muster one hit against Babylon starting pitcher Allie Stanya. Katie Picataggio singled through the left side of the infield with one out in the top of the seventh inning to break up Stanya’s perfect game.
In the two games she’s faced the Lady Baymen this season, Stanya has only allowed three hits and no runs.
It was somewhat of a bittersweet ending to the regular season for Hampton Bays, which had won its previous three games entering Monday. After beating Pierson, 6-2, at home on May 6, the Lady Baymen defeated Southold/Greenport, 16-4, Friday also on its home field and then took down Southampton, 10-8, at Red Creek Park on Saturday night.
Hampton Bays held a 6-0 lead until Chloe Schmidt smacked a three-run home run to cut the lead in half. It wasn’t easy, but the Lady Baymen were able to stay ahead of the Lady Mariners all night in what Hampton Bays head coach Rich Doulos said is becoming known as the “Battle of the Canal” involving the two teams.
“They came to play. They were pumped up,” Hampton Bays head coach Rich Doulos said of Southampton. “They could have easily called it at 6-0, but they didn’t. They hit the ball well.
“I told the girls before the game that you can throw out the records—this is a rivalry game. It usually brings out the best in everyone,” he added.
Mackenzie Tyler went 3 for 3 with a triple and three runs scored. She also scored on a straight steal of home plate in the second inning, which gave the Lady Baymen a 3-0 lead. Rebecca Harris went 3 for 4 with a triple, an RBI and two runs. Marley Tyler went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and Katie Picataggio went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs.
Picataggio, a freshman who is in her first year on varsity, has been picking it up at the plate of late, something that has been noticed by her head coach.
“In the beginning of the season, she was so out in front of pitches because she’s got such a quick swing,” Doulos said. “She’s worked on that a lot and she’s not just pulling the ball now. She’s going to left center and center field. She’s developed into a much better hitter.”
The win over Southold was a five-inning, mercy-rule shortened game. Emma Candelaria got her first win of her varsity career, pitching the first four innings before giving way to Marley Tyler, who pitched the final inning.
Mackenzie Tyler went 2 for 3 with a walk, a triple and an RBI. Picataggio went 2 for 2 with a walk, a triple and two RBIs. Taylor Dunn went 1 for 4 but drove in two RBIs and played well behind the plate, throwing out two base runners.
Hampton Bays and Pierson were tied, 2-2, going into the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs and Picataggio on third base, Hannah Reed laid down a squeeze bunt that plated Picataggio with the go-ahead run. Then the Lady Baymen went on to score three more runs in the inning.
Picataggio finished 2 for 3 with a double.