May 1, 2013 10:00 AMBy Drew Budd
The Hampton Bays softball team is one win away from returning to the Suffolk County Class B playoffs after two come-from-behind victories last week.
The Lady Baymen (7-3 League VII, 7-4 overall) had to face the top two League VIII teams, Babylon (7-3 League VIII, 8-4 overall) and Pierson (6-4 League VIII, 6-4 overall), last week in League VII/VIII crossovers. In both games, Hampton Bays was down heading into the final inning but found ways to come back and get the wins.
The Lady Baymen won, 7-5, at Babylon on Friday after having defeated Pierson, 8-7, at home on April 24. Hampton Bays did lose its non-league game at Red Creek Park against Westhampton Beach, 8-7, on Saturday night.
At Babylon on Friday, the Lady Baymen were down, 5-4, heading into the top of the seventh. Babylon decided to intentionally walk senior Davie Romer to load the bases to get to sophomore Taylor Dunn, who had struck out twice earlier in the game. Dunn made the Lady Panthers pay, though, as she stroked a line drive to right center field that scored sophomore Becca Harris from third base with the tying run.
Hampton Bays then took the lead on a wild pitch that scored two runs and the Lady Baymen went on to win, 7-5.
“They thought they had her number,” Hampton Bays head coach Rich Doulos said of Dunn. “In a pressure situation like that, Taylor knew what was going on and knew it was insulting, so she took it a little personal. She had a 2-2 count and she came through with a nice line-drive hit. It was not a cheap hit at all.”
The victory over Babylon was a big step for Doulos and his team, who looked at the Lady Panthers as one of the top teams in Class B. “Needless to say, all of us, including myself, couldn’t get the smiles off our faces after the game,” Doulos said. “For us, it was a statement game, letting everyone know we’re for real. People now know who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish.
“We’re the only team that’s beaten Center Moriches so far,” he added. “We’ve now beaten Babylon. The targets are now on our backs.”
Freshman Marley Tyler, who was moved from the two-hole in the lineup to the lead-off spot, went 2 for 2 with two walks and two runs scored. Senior Karlie Troyan went 2 for 3 with a sacrifice fly and two RBIs.
Tyler also pitched for Hampton Bays and gutted out what Doulos called a gritty performance. She allowed five runs and walked three batters but struck out five. Babylon had runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Tyler got the final batter of the game to ground out to sophomore Meghan Harris at second base.
Hampton Bays was down, 7-4, heading into the bottom of the seventh last week against Pierson. Eventually, the Lady Baymen had runners on first and second base with two outs. Senior Lauren Wienclawski hit a high pop up to shallow left center field that Pierson couldn’t field cleanly and both runners came around to score to make it a one-run game.
Junior Jade Zaluski then slapped a base hit to left field to score Wienclawski with the game-tying run. With Zaluski now on second base, seventh-grader Mackenzie Tyler slapped a base hit of her own to left, which scored Zaluski with the game-winning run.
“They came out and played a great game,” Doulos said of his team. “Being down 7-4 with two outs in the seventh isn’t easy to come back from. Three straight hits to come back, though, is pretty nice.”
Hampton Bays made five errors in the game and Pierson was able to capitalize on all of them. Marley Tyler was able to pitch well enough to get the win, though. She allowed two earned runs, didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. She also went 2 for 4 at the plate with a double. Zaluski and Mackenzie Tyler went 2 for 4 with an RBI each.
Hampton Bays and Westhampton Beach played a very competitive game at Red Creek Park on Saturday night. The Lady Baymen had 16 hits, but a couple of miscues in the field and on the basepaths led to a victory for the Lady Hurricanes, who have won six of their last seven games. The five and six batters in the lineup for Hampton Bays went a combined 0 for 8 and, as a team, the Lady Baymen left six runners on base, five of them in scoring position.
The Lady Baymen actually had a chance to come back again and tie the game. Meghan Harris tripled to left field with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, then Zaluski drove her in with a base hit and took second base on the throw to home plate. But the next batter grounded out to end the game.
“I think they put so much emotion in that Babylon game, and coming back the last two games, I just think they were exhausted,” Doulos said. “It was a great game though. It was nice playing under the lights at Red Creek. I told the girls they have nothing to hang their heads on.”
Even with the loss, Doulos said it was a great week, probably the best of the season. And with sub .500 teams coming up this week with Mercy (4-6 League VIII) and Southampton (3-7 League VII, 3-8 overall), the Lady Baymen have a very good shot at clinching a postseason berth.
“Now they truly believe that they’re contenders for the county title,” Doulos said of his players. “Not that I doubted them, but now teams are going to be targeting us after we targeted other teams.”
ON THE SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 4/30, vs. Mercy; Wednesday, 5/1, vs. Southampton; Friday, 5/3, at Bayport/Blue Point, 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 5/7, vs. Mattituck, 4 p.m.