The East Meadow softball players and coaches tried everything they could think of to stay ready for whenever their first county final game would be played.
With two weather cancellations, the days off between the semifinals and finals mounted.
“Itching and waiting,” outfielder Julianna Sanzone said. “Practice indoor, at the batting cages, you name it, we’re doing it.”
And when the time came to step back on the field, the Jets were ready — nobody more than Sanzone. The junior rightfielder went 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs as top-seeded East Meadow defeated No. 2 Oceanside, 7-2, in Game 1 of a best-of-three Nassau Class AA championship Friday afternoon at Hofstra.
“As the season gets later, she gets better,” coach Stew Fritz said. “She’s a big-game player.”
Sanzone had a three-run home run in the third inning to give East Meadow a 4-2 lead, and followed with a solo home run in her next at-bat in the fifth inning to give the Jets a 6-2 advantage.
“On the first home run I was like, ‘Wow, that felt really nice’ and the second one felt just as good,” Sanzone said. “I just stayed up there and relaxed and it was amazing.”
East Meadow (17-4) and Oceanside (14-10) play Game 2 at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Hofstra, with the Jets one win away from their third straight Nassau Class AA crown.
Alex Kelly tossed a complete game, surrendering two runs (one earned) on four hits with no walks and one strikeout for East Meadow. Isabella Shepherd and Stephanie Christoforatos each scored two runs and Grace Pohalski added an RBI single for the Jets.
East Meadow also had key defensive contributions, including a diving catch in foul territory by catcher Rosanna Cuttone for the final out of the fifth inning with runners on first and second and the Jets leading 5-2.
“She made a great play and they were rallying,” Fritz said. “To me, at the time, it was a game saver.”