QUEENSBURY, N.Y. - Sometimes a memory can be just as good as a win.
East Meadow may have fallen one game short of a state title, losing to Cicero-North Syracuse, 5-0, in the Class AA championship game at Adirondack Sports Complex Saturday. But for the four seniors on the team, the lasting memory won't be of the final out, it will be of stuff like this . . .
"Dina LaRosa singing karaoke on the bus on the way here," shortstop Danielle Cutuli said. "She was singing, 'I Love Rock and Roll.' "
"The dance parties," second baseman Ariel Cornfield said. "We had dance-offs in the hotel room."
"My best friend Madison West harassing me," first baseman LaRosa said. "She was calling me 'Cheez-It' because I like them."
"Leaving the school to come here, some of the classes came out and clapped for us the whole way down the hallway," third baseman Taylor Conti said. "The school band played for us outside. It was like we were celebrities."
For one weekend in Queensbury, the East Meadow Jets lived like celebrities, even if the trip didn't end with a state championship.
Cicero-North Syracuse's Sydney O'Hara, the Gatorade New York State Player of the Year who is bound for Syracuse, allowed five hits and struck out 12 in the win. She also hit a pair of home runs, including a three-run shot in the first inning, which was all the run support she would need.
Kerri Shapiro put on a similar performance in East Meadow's 8-0 semifinal win over Union-Endicott earlier Saturday afternoon. Shapiro tossed a three-hitter, struck out 13 and went 3-for-5 with six RBIs, including a three-run home run in the fourth.
Marisa San Antonio went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI and Conti went 3-for-4 to help the Jets advance to their first state title game.
"No one else from East Meadow has ever done this," said Cutuli, who is bound for Adelphi. "We should all be proud of ourselves. It's bittersweet right now, but it was a great experience for every single one of us."
Here's some other memories from that experience. For West, it was all of the food the team ate at the buffet. For San Antonio, it was being roommates with Claire Travis, who stole her pillow pet. For Shapiro, it was watching Conti try to do a flip from one bed onto the other and coming up short.
Those three will return next season to help East Meadow (18-9) try to take that final step.
"We have to remember how it feels to lose here," West said, "and how much we want it."
There were plenty of memorable moments on the field this season, as well, such as Shapiro tossing one-hitters in both the county title clincher over MacArthur and the Long Island championship against Longwood.
"We are all in tears right now," Shapiro said, "but we'll eventually realize that nobody has ever done this at East Meadow. We made history."
And memories that will last a lifetime.