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Aug 3, 2018 1:12 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

East Hampton 11U Softball All-Stars Place Second In State Tournament

Amina Guebli gets a hit down the third base line. CAROLINE DISUNNO
Aug 3, 2018 1:36 PM

The East Hampton 11-and-under softball All-Stars, and their families, made the five-hour trek to Glens Falls Little League’s Robert J. Nolan Complex for the four-day-long New York State Little League Championship on July 25. Their goal was simply to be competitive, and they were just that.

East Hampton reached the New York State Championships and wound up settling for second place after a 6-1 loss to Pearl River on Saturday afternoon. Although they won’t be going further in the tournament that ultimately leads to the Little League Softball World Series, in Portland, Oregon, that’s quite alright for Bonac, assistant coach Andy Barris said on Monday afternoon. The game of softball was almost secondary to the great time that was had by all, he said.

“This experience was something that these girls will have for the rest of their lives,” he said. “The support from the town, all of these parents who changed all of their schedules around to make the trip, it really was an experience that was life-changing for a lot of people. The girls now have a great bond together, and to have that kind of pride for themselves was really just great.”

But there were games to be played, a few of them in fact. Pool play began with the four teams that reached the tournament on July 25. After making the five-hour trip upstate, East Hampton played La Grange in its first game and suffered a close 3-1 loss. In game two of the tournament, East Hampton lost, 17-7, to Pearl River, but rebounded with an 11-6 victory over Snug Harbor, which seeded Bonac third going into the playoffs. That meant East Hampton would avoid having to play the top team, Pearl River, in the semifinals, and instead created a rematch with La Grange, which East Hampton coaches thought their team could beat. It wasn’t easy though.

In a back-and-forth game that included a number of highlight plays, East Hampton edged La Grange, 8-6, to move on to the finals, where they eventually fell to Pearl River. In that semifinal game, Sienne Salamy caught two fly balls in right field that thwarted La Grange’s effort to score a couple of runs. East Hampton head coach Mike Ruddy said that the team wouldn’t have made it to the finals without Sienne making those plays.

East Hampton turned three double plays throughout the tournament, two of them in the championship game. Cloe Ceva made a running catch in center field then doubled off the runner at second base to teammate Keri O’Donnell. Pitcher Katie Kuneth caught a hard line drive then made the quick throw to first base to get the runner with Gabby Payne. Sophia Rodriguez also caught a liner then tagged the runner off of third base for a double play.

Other tournament highlights included Gabby Payne’s hitting throughout the tournament. She had 14 hits in 17 at-bats for an .824 batting average. Amina Guebli also swung a hot bat and only allowed one error at shortstop. And Katie Kuneth was a rock in the circle for East Hampton. She pitched 30 innings over the course of five games in four days and struck out 16 overall.

The 11U All-Stars included Harper Baris, Cloe Ceva, Susie DiSunno, Amina Guebli, Paige Herlihy, Georgia Kenny, Julia Kuneth, Katie Kuneth, Keri O’Donnell, Gabrielle Payne, Sophia Rodriguez, Lila Ruddy and Sienne Salamy. Mike Ruddy was the head coach and he was assisted by Andy Barris and Heather Payne.

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