There's no better indication of the Babylon softball team's youth than the Donaldson sisters. Gwen, the starting shortstop, is just a sophomore. And yet she's the older sister . . . by three years!
It's rare to see a seventh-grader starting in varsity softball, let alone for a Long Island championship team. But that's what Danielle Donaldson did at third this season for Babylon, which fell to Marlboro, 4-1, Saturday in the Class B regional final at St. Joseph's Athletic Complex.
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"I bet she was nervous," Gwen Donaldson said of her sister, who was 11 years old when the season began. "But she toughed it out."
The same could be said of many on Babylon, which started four freshmen -- Allie Stanya in the circle, Molly Cummings at catcher, Julia Vella at second, and Grace Malley in left.
"This season has been so successful," said Alyssa Sasuk, one of four seniors on the Panthers. "We were such a young team, no one ever thought we would get here. I'm so proud of every one."
Stanya, who defeated unbeaten Center Moriches twice in the postseason and shutout Nassau champ East Rockaway to help Babylon advance -- allowed two runs on eight hits and no walks. Gwen Donaldson went 2-for-3.
"If they're this young and starting, they have two or three good years ahead of them," senior Breanna Morrow said. "Allie will get them back here."
Babylon (18-4) took a 1-0 lead in the third when Stanya led off with a walk and scored on a double by senior Bridgette Rohl. Allison Swartz and Lily Macario hit RBI doubles in a three-run fourth to give Marlboro (20-2) a 3-1 lead.
"I'm glad the younger girls got to see that it was possible to do this," Rohl said. "We wanted so bad to make history today, but it means the world that I was able to get my third LIC in my senior year."
The young core, along with junior centerfielder Erin Going, gained not only an LIC, but valuable experience.
"Hopefully we can take the next step," Gwen Donaldson said. "We're going to have fun the next few years."
Pierson / Bridgehampton falls. Charlotte Evans solo home run highlighted a four-run inning in the bottom of the seventh but Pierson/Bridgehampton's rally came up short as it fell to Chester, 9-7, in the Class C regional final at Rhinebeck High School. Evans went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Sam Duchemin went 3-for-4, and Zoe Diskin went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Pierson (10-7), which had the tying runs on base in the seventh."We made an agreement prior to the game that we wouldn't quit, up for down, until the end," Pierson coach Woody Kneeland said. "And we didn't. We fought until we weren't allowed to fight anymore."