Bay Shore: 20-20

With another shutout from Taylor McGowan and a 2-for-4 day from Liz Weber, who also homered, Bay Shore coach Jim McGowan led the team to its state-record 20th straight 20-win season last Thursday.

The program has won at least 20 games in 24 of McGowan's 28 seasons. The team was 16-7 in 1990, but bounced back to a 23-2 record in 1991, starting the run. In the mid-90s Suffolk cut back to a 21-game season, making the mark more difficult to achieve.

"I think the sign of a great program is consistency," McGowan said. "There's a difference between schools having good teams versus schools having good programs. It's that commitment to excellence."

Great Neck South denied

Ability-based grouping is the issue whose button usually heats up each season around this time. The grouping leads to much discussion and last week Great Neck South shortstop Charlotte Freed spoke out.

"I think if you win your division you should be in the playoffs," the Cortland-bound senior said. "The teams from the higher divisions should be in because of who they play, but we won our division. To be excluded isn't fair to us. It's ridiculous."

Currently, automatic berths go to teams in the highest conferences and requires teams from lower divisions to finish with an .850 winning percentage to qualify. The Rebels went 11-1 within ABC-IV, but dropped their five crossover games.

"I don't want to bury the system because I do understand it," South coach Eric Connelly said. "If we don't win our crossovers, it's like we're not proving ourselves. At the same time, we win our division and get a plaque, but there's no next step."

Nassau's governing body has discussed doing away with the system next year, but nothing has been finalized. And according to Connelly, "the majority of coaches like it as is."

Port Jeff keeps it interesting

Port Jefferson held just a one-game lead for the top spot in Class C entering Thursday's contest with second-place Pierson/Bridgehampton. A 14-7 victory later, and the Royals had locked up its class.

After a 7-2 start, sophomore Michiko McGivney, last year's pitching (1.87 ERA) and offensive (.472 average) star, has ceded time in the circle to Molly Gibson, who is 6-1.East Islip set for round two

Should second-seeded East Islip (18-1) advance to the Class AA finals, the Redmen will likely meet Bay Shore, the team that ousted them from last year's semifinals, 4-0. But East Islip believes this team can avenge that loss.

Long known for their powerful bats, the Redmen's pitching this season has been nothing to sneeze at. In her first full year as a starter, senior Rachel Dell'Orto has lost just once, thrown a no-hitter, and had a 16-strikeout game.

"She is one of a kind, this kid," coach Stephanie Nardone said. "She's 5-2, but has beautiful power and a push through her pitches with her back leg. She's able to create a nice spin and the ball really moves."Sister act

Island Trees sisters Taylor and Tori Tedeschi were both honored at last week's Nassau awards ceremony. Taylor, a junior pitcher sporting a 2.47 ERA, was named all-county and Tori, a freshman third baseman, was all-conference with a .429 average.

"They interact really well, which is kind of shocking for teenage sisters," joked coach Lauren Marino, whose team also features a second sister tandem, Samantha and Alannah Basile. "They read each other well and know when to get in the other's face and when to stay away."

The Bulldogs advanced to the second round of the Class A playoffs on Friday.

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