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May 9, 2017 11:28 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Walk-Off Win On Monday Creates Win-And-In Scenario For East Hampton Softball

East Hampton starting pitcher Sam Merritt KYRIL BROMLEY
May 9, 2017 11:53 AM

There’s something about this season’s East Hampton softball team.

It may not currently resemble the Lady Bonacker teams that reached the New York State Final Four years back, but, the players certainly have a penchant for finding ways to win ball games, evident in Monday’s 6-5 come-from-behind, walk-off victory over Southampton at home. The victory put East Hampton (8-9 League IX) in a do-or-die situation this week; it needs to beat first-place Shoreham/Wading River on Wednesday to finish with a .500 record and qualify for the Suffolk County Class A postseason for the first time since 2012.

While the Lady Wildcats have one loss this season in 16 games, the Lady Bonackers have shown they can’t be counted out. “I really feel like we have a shot. If we play the way we did against Sayville then we certainly have a shot,” East Hampton head coach Kathy Amicucci said.

East Hampton led Southampton for most of Monday’s game, but, the Lady Mariners batted around in the top of the seventh inning to take a 5-3 lead. Needing the victory to stay in playoff contention, the Lady Bonackers went to work right away in the bottom of the seventh.

Alexis Vargas bunted her way on base to lead off. After a strikeout, Maddie Schenck and Ella Gurney hit consecutive ground balls that Southampton attempted to turn a double play on but failed to get any outs due to errors, loading the bases with one out. Sam Merritt came up to the plate, and on a 1-1 count, hit a line drive over the left fielder’s head for a bases-clearing, walk-off double to give East Hampton the 6-5 win and keep its playoff chances alive.

Merritt, who also pitched the entire game, reached base safely three times; she was walked and hit by a pitch before her double in the last inning. Amicucci said her team may have taken Southampton for granted, since it’s not making the playoffs this season, but came through when they needed to.

“That’s what they need to do, they need to keep fighting,” she said. “I think they walked onto the field thinking Southampton wasn’t going to try that hard. But I guess when push came to shove they were able to do what they needed to do.”

Amicucci felt like her team played better in a 6-2 win over Hampton Bays on Thursday, May 4. Becca Kuperschmid had two RBIs and Merritt hit a home run. Bella Swanson made a nice heads-up play at third base. With runners on second and third, Lady Bayman Mackenzie Tyler laid down a bunt. Knowing Tyler’s speed, and assuming the runner from third was going to score easily, Swanson fielded the ball cleanly then pump-faked a throw to first base, drawing the runner from second rounding third base down the line. All Swanson had to do was tag the base runner out to end the inning.

Pierson/Bridgehampton

The Pierson/Bridgehampton softball team took a massive blow to its playoff chances after a 12-10 loss at home to fellow Class C school Port Jefferson on Monday. Taylor Catoggio drove in Jackie Brown with a base hit to break a 10-10 tie in the top of the seventh and it proved to be enough for the Lady Royals, who improved to 3-13 on the season with the win.

The Lady Whalers (5-11 League X) defeated Port Jeff, 23-14, back on April 5, and had they won on Monday, head coach Woody Kneeland would have had a good case to petition Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County high school athletics, to get into the Class C playoffs, since his team’s record against fellow Class C, and D teams was .500. But with a loss to Southold/Greenport already, and now the loss to Port Jeff, it will be unlikely that the section awards Pierson a playoff berth, even with Pierson’s regular-season finale against Southold/Greenport still to be played on Wednesday. Kneeland wasn’t available for comment this week to see whether or not he would still file the petition.

Southampton

The Lady Mariners’ whirlwind of a season came to a close on Monday after their 6-5 loss at East Hampton.

Playoff hopefuls to begin the season, head coach Virginia McGovern chose to step down midseason, and Southampton never really recovered. Following her departure on April 4, the Lady Mariners went 2-10 the rest of the season. One of those wins came this past weekend, in a 3-1 victory over cross-town rival Hampton Bays at Red Creek Park on Saturday night. Samantha Wesnofske struck out eight and walked two in a two-hitter, and also went 1 for 2 at the plate with an RBI.

A large class of seniors is graduating next month. Vilia Baumilas, Olivia Bruyn, Sita Kadash, Caliegh Kiembock, Maxine Loebs, Diana Oliver, Barbara Pace and Monica Williams will all be leaving the program.

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