East Meadow, Pierson/Bridgehampton and Sayville in softball states
Three Long Island softball teams head to the state tournament, each with a different story line: East Meadow's debut, Pierson/Bridgehampton's return, Sayville's repeat.
EAST MEADOW (17-8) vs. UNION-ENDICOTT (14-8)
Saturday, 11 a.m. At Adirondack Sports Complex
If the Jets advance: State final, vs. Cicero-N. Syracuse or Brockport, 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Kerri Shapiro has had one thing on her mind since last season ended.
"States . . . States . . . States," she said last Tuesday.
Now that she has guided the Jets there by tossing one-hitters in the county clincher and Long Island championship, she'll look to give them their first state title.
Shapiro is joined by catcher Madison West, a master at framing pitches and blocking the plate. Marisa San Antonio is the catalyst atop a deep lineup. She's followed by six-year shortstop Danielle Cutuli, a dangerous line-drive hitter and smooth fielder.
Union-Endicott, in its first Final Four since 1999, is led by pitcher Rachel Mouillesseaux, who has tossed three straight shutouts.
SAYVILLE (23-4) vs. TROY (22-2)
Saturday, 9 a.m.
If the Golden Flashes advance: State final, vs. Hamburg or Tappan Zee, 2 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday marks the anniversary of Kerry Keenan's game-tying single and Cindy Griffin's go-ahead single that gave Sayville the state championship. Now the Golden Flashes get another chance to celebrate in Queensbury.
Emily Sellitti leads a group that won three do-or-die games in the playoffs, capped with a five-run rally in the seventh inning of the county final.
Julia Simpson has kept hitters off balance and developed a rapport with talented young catcher Olivia Kaczmarek. Kristen Bricker is a formidable power hitter with seven home runs.
Troy qualified for its first Final Four behind eighth-grade pitcher Hunter Levesque and freshman second baseman Kaitlin DelSignore.
PIERSON / BRIDGEHAMPTON (13-7) vs. FREWSBURG (18-5)
Saturday, 9 a.m. at Morse Field
If the Whalers advance: State final, vs. Sandy Creek or Greenwich, 2 p.m. Saturday.
In a game that ended with football-like final score of 24-7, it was the "quarterback of the team" who delivered.
That's what coach Melissa Edwards calls shortstop Kasey Gilbride, who went 4-for-5 with eight RBIs in the win over Haldane to help the Whalers advance to Queensbury for the second consecutive season. Pierson/Bridgehampton, which fell to eventual champion Greenwich in the semis last year, has scored in double digits seven times behind Sam Duchemin, who was 4-for-5 with five RBIs against Haldane, and Emma Romeo.
Frewsburg makes a third straight state Final Four appearance with pitcher Sam Mott.
With Jason Stromberg