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Babylon softball ready for another playoff run
As Babylon heads toward another postseason run in Suffolk Class B softball, the Panthers can hold their head up high after capturing a seventh league championship and first in League VIII under coach Rick Punzone.
A year after going undefeated at 22-0 en route to the Long Island Championship, Punzone is curious to how this year's group will respond.
"I've been satisfied with the pitching," said Punzone, who has the Panthers at 12-5 overall and 11-4 in League VIII heading into their regular-season finale at league foe Port Jefferson at 4:30 p.m. Monday. "We're a very good hitting team. What's made us most successful has been the hitting."
It begins with second-team All-State shortstop Nicole Marro and two-time All-County and first-team All-State third baseman Brianna Goodfellow.
"They're both hitting the ball well over .400," Punzone said. "Brianna sets the table as the leadoff hitter, and our No. 3 hitter, Marro, has lots of RBIs and is very consistent. She's only struck out twice this year."
It sure bodes well for senior right-hander Madison Mugno and sophomore right-hander Alyssa Sasuk, both first-year starters.
"For the most part, they both throw strikes and they make the girls make the plays in the field," said Punzone, who enters Monday with a 234-57 record in 12 seasons at Babylon.
Currently undefeated against League VIII teams (9-0), Babylon will rely on first baseman Mary Tighe, a two-year starter, second-year starting second baseman Marisol Rivas and junior catcher Michelle Mangini to help Marro and Goodfellow carry the load offensively.
Rivas, a junior, has six home runs in two years.
"We always preach throwing strikes and playing defense," said Punzone, who has led the Panthers to three Suffolk Class B Long Island Championships and five county championships. "Our offense has never been a problem for us. We've always had good hitters."