WATERLOO, N.Y. - After a 4-for-4, three-RBI performance in the second game of the Suffolk Class AA softball finals, Nicole Marzillo, a bit hesitant to be interviewed, warned that she wasn't a good talker. Saturday, as Bay Shore celebrated its state championship, she pulled a duck-n-run as her mom reached for the camera.

"I don't like pictures," Marzillo said sheepishly.

Yeah, the first baseman has grown quite accustomed to swinging a big stick and speaking softly, though seldom. On a star-studded team, she's nestled comfortably in the backseat and hidden in the shadow of Liz Weber, Kelsey Fischer, Taylor McGowan, Kat Franzone, et al. Oh, she's put up numbers - .368 average, four homers, 25 RBIs and seven steals. But she's gone about it all in her way.

"I just kind of like to do my thing quietly," Marzillo said.

"Oh, yes," said her mother, Jean, who eventually snapped the picture when her daughter wasn't looking. "She's really shy."

Alas, attention seeks those deserving.

In the sixth inning of the semifinal, with top-ranked Bay Shore trailing Clarence, 2-1, it was Marzillo's single - a two-out liner to leftfield - that scored Cat Franzone to tie the game. That hit revived the Marauders' dugout, sent their fans into a frenzy, and dragged Marzillo onto center stage.

"That was the biggest hit of the year," said pitcher Liz Weber, who at that point relaxed enough to break into a little jig as her teammates cheered. "The whole atmos-phere just changes up and everyone starts having fun again."

Added coach Jim McGowan: "My girl Nicole! She came up the next time, in the biggest at-bat of the year, and she comes through."

In the fourth inning of the championship game, her two-out RBI infield single into the shortstop hole gave Bay Shore a 2-0 lead, which, with Weber dealing, looked insurmountable.

"She's not shy in big spots," said Franzone, who bear hugged her best friend after the game. "She's a beast in the clutch."

Marzillo, deflective of praise, said helping send the four seniors off with a state title was her motivation. "This was really for them," she said.

Among those graduating will be Weber, Franzone and Fischer, thus, the spotlight will be pan around for other stars. Guess who's one.

"She's one of the most skilled players in the county and I don't know if she knows that yet," McGowan said. "Next year, she's going to be one of the premier players on Long Island."

She already is, even if she doesn't act it.

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months