Longtime friends lead Sayville to county crown
Now would be the perfect time to break out the then-and-now pictures of Merissa Selts, Kathleen Maehr and Kira Karl.
On one side of the frame would be the decade-old photo of them playing together in T-ball. On the other side would be Friday's photo of them celebrating a county softball title together in their senior year of high school.
With their lengthy timeline as teammates nearing its end, it was fitting that the trio combined to drive in all of the runs as No. 1 Sayville beat No. 3 East Hampton, 4-0, in the deciding Game 3 of the Class A county championship series.
"This is the last time we're all going to be playing together, so I wanted it to be a good year," said Selts, who tossed her second straight two-hit shutout, walked one and struck out three. "We're more than a team, we're a family."
It was one of the younger members of the family who ignited the four-run fifth. Catcher Olivia Kaczmarek, one of three freshmen on the team, battled through her leadoff at-bat before singling to center. After Jackie Christenson was hit by a pitch and Jessica Griffin reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases, Karl hit a sacrifice fly to left to make it 1-0.
Selts then drilled a triple to the gap in deep left-center to drive in two more runs. Maehr followed with a bloop RBI single to shallow centerfield to put Sayville ahead 4-0.
"This was our goal," Maehr said. "It's just a great end to a long time together."
Casey Waleko, who carried a no-hitter into the fifth, allowed three hits and one walk with two strikeouts for East Hampton (17-7).
It was Sayville's first county title since 2009, which happened to be the year that Selts, Maehr and Karl joined forces on varsity as freshmen.
"I've been playing with these girls forever," Karl said. "To win with them is amazing."
It was then, and it is now.