It was raining at Berner Middle School on Monday afternoon, but the Massapequa softball team didn’t allow that to dampen their celebration. A 4-3 walk off victory over Long Beach sent Massapequa to the semifinals of the Nassau County Class AA softball playoffs. They will face Farmingdale on Thursday at Mitchell Field in Uniondale.
Athena Soregaroli’s base hit in the bottom of the seventh inning ended the back and forth affair. The hit was a fitting cap on Soregaroli’s big day. Her home run in the second inning gave the Chiefs a 2-0 lead.
Massapequa cruised through the first four innings, adding another run thanks to an errant play at the plate. Chiefs pitcher Kim Giurlando had worked around a few runners, but was generally in command.
Long Beach's Kelsey Larson RBI triple in the fifth ended Massapequa's shut out bid, scoring Heather Weinstein from second. Moments later, Larson scored on a wild pitch, electrifying the Long Beach bench.
Kelsey Mclaughlin led off the sixth inning with a home run, tying the game and stealing the momentum away from Massapequa. Not bowing to the sudden pressure, Giurlando retired six of the next seven batters, putting the Chiefs in position to win the game in their final at-bat.
“These Chiefs are very resilient,” Massapequa Head coach Steve Donovan said.
Hero: Soregaroli- Her bat accounted for three of the Chiefs four runs, including the biggest one of the afternoon. She was also instrumental in Massapequa’s third run. With no one out in the fourth, Soregaroli sacrificed Rachael Sieber to second base. Sieber would score on an errant play at the plate, giving Massapequa a 3-0 lead.
Turning Point: Although Soregaroli’s base hit was the most important play of the game, it may not have happened without Giurlando’s ability to limit Long Beach to one run in the sixth. After the homer, she struck out Christy Fox and forced Krystal Carrasquillo to ground out, keeping the game tied.
Quotable: “We got some big hits when we needed them,” Donovan said. “These girls never quit.”
“My girls fought real hard,” Long Beach Head coach Carmine Verde said. “It was just whoever was going to get the last shot. Give Massapequa credit. They came up with some big hits.”
Bottom Line: Massapequa’s ability to shake off adversity within games will be a valuable asset as they move further in the playoffs. The speed in which Long Beach tied the game would have seen a lot of teams press, but not Massapequa. They stayed true to what had worked earlier in the game and were rewarded.
Key Stat: Giurlando struck out five Marines.
Who’s Next: #2 Farmingdale vs. #3 Massapequa, Thursday at 4pm @ Mitchell Field.
Box Score:Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 F Long Beach 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 3 Massapequa 0 2 0 1 0 0 1 4