The season started at Center Moriches, and unfortunately for the Hampton Bays softball team, it ended at Center Moriches.
The Lady Baymen lost, 9-3, to the Lady Red Devils in the Suffolk County Class B Championship on May 28, effectively ending their postseason run. Center Moriches finally captured the county title after a three-year run of finishing second best in the county.
Hampton Bays came in to last week’s game confident after having beaten Babylon in extra innings and the Lady Baymen got off to a good start. Mackenzie Tyler reached on an infield base hit, then stole second base. Meghan Harris then drove her in with a single to center field to give the Lady Baymen a 1-0 lead.
Hampton Bays was eventually able to load the bases with two outs but wasn’t able to push any more runs across in the inning, which head coach Rich Doulos said was an important turning point of the game.
“From a coach’s perspective, we had an opportunity to break the game open and set a nice tone,” he said. “It was nice to come out with one run but it could have been more and we didn’t really have another opportunity the next three innings.”
On the other hand, Center Moriches didn’t miss its opportunities to drive in runs. The Lady Red Devils tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first, took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third and then added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to make it 5-1.
Hampton Bays got a nice jolt of offense in the top of the sixth when Marley Tyler hit a two-out, two-run home run over the left field fence to make it 5-3. Center Moriches came right back in the bottom of the inning, though, loading the bases with two outs. An error in left field allowed all three runners to score, and the Lady Red Devils were able to tack on another run to make up the final score.
“We made that error, but there were also base hits and walks in the inning,” Doulos explained. “You can do that against a team like Center Moriches, they’re going to come up with that big hit.”
Overall, Doulos thought his team played much better than it did the first two times against Center Moriches earlier this season, which were both blowouts. “We were able to put a little bit of pressure on them in the first inning,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to other team.”
Jade Zaluski and Heather O’Connor will be the only two players graduating this month with the core of the team still intact. Zaluski said following last week’s game that she enjoyed her senior season.
“We haven’t been this far [in the playoffs] since 2009, so being a senior, it’s a good experience to have come this far and almost being county champ,” she said.
Doulos thinks the team has greatly improved since he took over two years ago. “You can look at our record on paper, and that’s nice, but I really like to see how competitive we were with the top teams and I feel we were competitive,” he said. “The goal was to have teams look at their schedule and circle us as being a tough game and I think we accomplished that.
“We can’t be disappointed with the season,” he added. “The feeling after the Babylon game was almost like a county-championship atmosphere.”
The players felt the same way.
“Definitely proud of the way everyone played this whole year,” Rebecca Harris said. “We played so great this year—we would come back a lot of the times and we were always staying positive.”