A Long Island Class B championship isn’t the end goal for the Babylon softball team, but it’s a step toward where the players want to be.
After losing in the state Class B semifinals last year, the Panthers have worked all season toward playing their best softball come late May and early June. After a 19-2 victory over Oyster Bay in five innings in the Long Island Class B championship / Southeast Regional semifinal at Hofstra on a wet Thursday evening, Babylon is one win away from a return to South Glens Falls.
“I think we’re trying to prove that we can win the state title and we’re really trying to come back and do what we need to get done,” said senior Emily Bell, who went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs. “Last year, we left empty-handed in the semifinals and I know we have Regionals coming up, so we need to focus on that game.”
Babylon (17-5) plays Westlake in the Class B Southeast Regional final at North Rockland High School at 11 a.m. on Saturday. With a win, the Panthers advance to state semifinals at Moreau Recreational Park in South Glens Falls on June 9 — where Babylon’s season ended last year in a 1-0 loss to Depew (Buffalo).
“We had this same feeling last year,” said senior Grace Malley, who went 1-for-3 with three RBIs and a run. “But this time, it’s so much more exciting knowing what’s coming, being prepared for it and knowing we have to get things going now.”
The Panthers opened the game with a five-run first inning, highlighted by Allie Stanya’s two-run single to drive in Julia Vella and Molly Cummings for the opening runs. Babylon took a 6-0 lead on Danielle Donaldson’s single in the second inning.
“It was good to win convincingly,” coach Rick Punzone said. “We wanted to get off to a quick start, we got off to a 5-0 lead and we just kind of build off that.”
Babylon extended its advantage to 10-0 with a four-run fourth inning, highlighted by Donaldson’s RBI triple and Michelle Ruggiero’s RBI single. Emily McGurk added a single and scored in Babylon’s nine-run fifth inning and Meghan Flauger went 1-for-1 with two walks.
Oyster Bay (11-13) responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, with Mikaela Cornelious, who walked, and Jamie Galasso, who singled, coming around to score.
Eight of nine starters either had an RBI or run and each recorded a hit for the Panthers, which returned eight of nine starters from last year’s team.