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May 15, 2018 12:42 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton Softball Team Upset About Not Qualifying For Postseason Despite 11-Win Season

The Lady Mariners celebrate a home run by Sam Wesnofske in a win over Westhampton Beach on May 3. DREW BUDD
May 15, 2018 1:11 PM

Despite finishing with an 11-7 record, the Southampton softball team did not make the Suffolk County Class A postseason, due to the power-points system that Section XI used for small schools this season.

Typically teams that finish with records that equal or are greater than a .500 winning percentage qualify for the postseason, but with power points, Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County high school athletics, uses a formula that includes winning percentage but also includes other factors as well, such as if the win was against a tough or weak opponent. The large, or Class AA schools, in the county were divided into the more common leagues, while Class A though C schools were grouped together in one large, power-ranked league.

There were 17 teams in Class A this season and the section allowed nine teams to qualify, with No. 8 Westhampton Beach (9-9 League VII, 141.55 power points), and No. 9 Hampton Bays (11-7 League VII, 12-7 overall, 131.74) playing an outbracket game on Monday afternoon to determine who would go into the double-elimination postseason—Hampton Bays won, 12-4. With Hampton Bays being the final team to qualify for the playoffs, that meant teams such as Bayport/Blue Point (10-8 League VII, 128.21) and Shoreham/Wading River (9-9 League VII, 127.54), along with Southampton, would not get in.

Southampton head coach Tania Ciancio, who coached her first full season this year after taking over for Virginia McGovern halfway through last season, said she’s been losing sleep since the end of the season. She wasn’t sure of the last time the team won 11 games but it certainly hasn’t been since she’s been with the program for the past six years.

“I am haunted,” she said. “We made a run, the girls did a great job, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I’m very, very upset about it, and so are they.”

Ciancio thought about petitioning to get in, but she had heard winning such an appeal is extremely tough when power points are involved. Then given the fact of some of her team’s losses, such as to Bayport, Hampton Bays and Southold, it was going to be tough, even with strong wins over Hauppauge and Westhampton Beach.

Not reaching the postseason, which it hasn’t done in over three years now, puts a bit of a damper on what was an extremely strong season for the Lady Mariners, outside of their 11-7 record. Their 11 wins included nine shutouts, three of them no-hitters tossed by graduating senior Samantha Wesnofske, who finished with 209 strikeouts, a 2.73 ERA and a .393 batting average. Southampton actually had four girls hit over .300, with Leah Sellinger (.470), Taylor Pike (.453) and Stella Schoenberg (.333) to go along with Wesnofske.

The Lady Mariners won four of their final five games and Ciancio said it was with a bare-bones roster. In the final two games, the team went with just nine players, due to injuries and/or exams.

“It was discouraging to [the team] to finish in the fashion that they did because to them it’s like, what’s the point of playing next year if it’s like this next year? You win and you still have nothing to show for it,” Ciancio said. “Coupled with the fact that Section XI is not putting the right power points up, so the standings are correct one day, not correct another day. As a coach, how are you supposed to prepare your team when you don’t know where it lies? The whole power points system ... it’s not cut and dry.”

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