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Around the Diamond with Mackenzie Buckley

Smithtown East's MacKenzie Buckley comes around on the

Smithtown East's MacKenzie Buckley comes around on the Whitman pitch. (April 2, 2013) (Credit: George A. Faella)

Welcome to another installment of Around the Diamond.  Each week we’ll sit down with a local high school softball player and ask her a series of questions…some that relate to softball, some that don’t, and some that may even be slightly embarrassing.

If you'd like to be featured, e-mail me at michael.gavin@newsday.com, or message me on Twitter at @mgavinjr, or just come talk to me at a game. 

This week we feature Mackenzie Buckley of Smithtown East. The five-year starter has made a smooth transition from centerfield to shortstop this season. At the plate on Tuesday, she went 2-for-3 with three RBIs in a 6-1 win over Centereach to help Smithtown East improve their winning percentage to .500 as they battle for a playoff spot. As you’ll soon find out, she once caused a stoppage in play because she got swarmed by beetles.

Mackenzie Buckley now takes us Around the Diamond…    

Brag about yourself, what do you do well on the field and at the plate? "People say I have a natural ability for tracking balls hit in the outfield."

What happened in your first varsity at-bat? My first At-bat is one I will never forget. I hit a home run. It was definitely one of the best feelings I have ever had as a high school athlete. I was only in eighth grade at the time, so it was a moment that I was able to show everyone that I may be young but I deserve to be playing at the higher level.”

Which would you rather do, hit a walk-off home run or make a diving stop to end the game with the tying run on third? “I would prefer to hit a walk-off home run because to me there is nothing like hitting a home run. The feeling of accomplishment that comes over you after doing so is one an athlete loves to feel.”

Most embarrassing song on your iPod? “’Nobody's Perfect’ by Hannah Montana.”

What's been your favorite moment while playing for Smithtown East? “The year we went to semifinals is definitely one of my favorites. We struggled during the season and fought to make playoffs. Our opponents were looking past us, but we didn't let that affect us instead we took advantage of it. We started playing so well and became the team I knew all season we could be. We did something nobody thought we could. I’ve never been prouder of my teammates and myself.”

What's the biggest hit of your career? “Against East Islip when we played them on their field last year.  I hit a two-run home run over the fence in right-center. I consider this my biggest hit because East Islipis a team I respect very much, every year they have such a talented group and I felt incredibly accomplished when I pulled through for my team and hit that home run. It sort of changed the attitude of the game for us and put us in the right direction. I will never forget that moment we finally beat East Islipafter years of losing to them."

Who's the most intimidating pitcher you've faced in high school softball? "Megan Sweezy (former East Islip pitcher)."

What's something your teammates tease you about? “My teammates tend to tease me about how I don't realize how strong I actually am.”

Who's your funniest teammate? “Madison Provencher." 

Who's your shyest teammate? “Catie O’Gara."

Who's your most competitive teammate? “Stefanie Aplin.”

What are your pregame rituals or superstitions? “I am a very superstitious person. There are tons of things I do before and during the game. One thing I do is wear the same pink bow in my hair for every game, without it I feel like there is something missing.”

What are some of the best nicknames for players on your team? "I’m ‘Mac‘ or ‘Kenz’ but last year Sam Moss would call me ‘Kenzington.’ Kristina Hussey is ‘Bean,’ and Danielle  Gonzalez is ‘D.’”

What's your most embarrassing on-field moment? “Three years ago was playing in a tournament with my travel team. The outfield was full of bugs, not just any little bug....they were big flying beetles! Like most teenaged girls I am repulsed and petrified of bugs. There had to be hundreds and they were everywhere! They were flying past my face, landing on my jersey and one even got tangled in my hair. Like any rational person....I started flailing my arms around, screaming and ripping at my hair to get it out. When the umpire noticed the scene he stopped the game to see what was wrong. The attention turned on me as I continued to panic over the mass of bugs in the outfield.”

What do you want to be when you grow up? “A detective or a lawyer.”

Favorite TV show? “One Tree Hill and The Big Bang Theory.”

If you were the coach of your team for a day, what would you do? “Take the team to Six Flags!”

If you could have dinner with any three people throughout history, who would they be? “Sammy Adams, Beyonce and David Wright.”

Tags: Mackenzie Buckley , Smithtown East

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