Inconsistency and inexperience have plagued the East Hampton softball team this season, and while the Lady Bonackers still had a shot at making the Class A playoffs at the start of this week, they’ll need to solve both problems down the stretch in the regular season if they want to keep playing beyond the games already on their schedule.
The Lady Bonackers held on for a 12-9 win at Westhampton Beach on Thursday before a 15-5 home loss to Sayville the following day. A game with Rocky Point, scheduled for Saturday, was rained out.
The split in the two games moved the Lady Bonackers to 4-8 in League V, meaning they will have to go 6-2 over their final eight games to finish with a .500 record, the requirement for making the playoffs.
East Hampton had two games against last-place Elwood/John Glenn, as well as contests with Bayport/Blue Point, Shoreham/Wading River and Harborfields, still remaining on its schedule—all very winnable games. But the Lady Bonackers were also slated to face Mount Sinai, Islip and Rocky Point, who had a combined record of 30-10 as of Monday morning.
East Hampton head coach Lou Reale said things would need to change for his team down the stretch if it wants to advance.
“We have an outside chance, but we’d have to play really well,” he said. “We have to play better defense.”
That need was painfully evident in the loss to Sayville: East Hampton made 13 errors on the day. Adding to East Hampton’s woes was the fact that starting pitcher Casey Waleko struggled through back pain and wasn’t as effective as she typically can be. Freshman Dylan Schleider came on in relief in the fourth inning, and Reale said she didn’t do a bad job in her first varsity action, but without any support from the defense, East Hampton was unable to get back into the game.
East Hampton scored on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Maddie Schenck in the fourth, and recorded the rest of its runs in the final inning, when Sayville brought in a new pitcher, who struggled to find the strike zone and issued seven walks in that inning alone.
Against Westhampton Beach, the Lady Bonackers were dominant early on, taking an 11-1 lead into the fifth inning. Waleko had eight of her 10 strikeouts in the first three innings, but her back started bothering her again late in the game, according to Reale, and the Lady Hurricanes took advantage, also capitalizing on East Hampton errors. The Lady Bonackers had built a big enough cushion, however, and came away with the win.
Schenck, an eighth-grader, was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI on the day, while Emma Norris was 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs, and Schleider was 2 for 4 with a run.
The struggles continued for the East Hampton baseball team last week, as it fell to 0-9 in League VII, 2-11 overall with three lopsided losses to first-place Bayport/Blue Point (7-2). The Bonackers lost, 11-0, on the road on April 22, fell, 7-1, at home two days later, and lost, 17-1, in Bayport the following day. The losses officially eliminated them from playoff contention.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Softball—Wednesday, 4/30, vs. Mount Sinai, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 5/2, at Islip, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 5/3, at Rocky Point, 4 p.m. Baseball—Tuesday, 4/29, vs. Shoreham/Wading River, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 4/30, at Shoreham, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 5/2, vs. Shoreham, 4:30 p.m.