Babylon hadn’t experiencing losing for so long on a softball field — not since March 31, the second game of the season.

The Panthers claimed the Suffolk championship and the Long Island championship in Class B. But after 13 straight wins, they ran into a better team Saturday at Middletown in the Southeast Regional final.

Ava Del Salto held them to four hits, and Marlboro Central of Section IX claimed a berth in the state semifinals with a 10-1 victory.

“Offensively, we never really got it going,” Babylon coach Rick Punzone said. “Their pitcher was very good. It was a very good team that we played. I wouldn’t be shocked if they won the whole thing. 

“… When you play a good team like that, you can’t make mistakes, and we made just enough.”

Marlboro Central scored four runs in the second and six in the sixth. The Panthers scored in the seventh when Hailey Lassen lifted a sacrifice fly to drive in pitcher Meghan McGurk.

“She’s had a very good year, but they hit her,” Punzone said of McGurk, who’s just a sophomore.

So the season came to an end at 14-2. The Panthers featured only five seniors and had mostly freshmen and sophomores among the rest.

“We didn’t know what we had this year,” Punzone said. "They really worked hard, and they were the only Suffolk team to win a Long Island championship. They were definitely overachievers. I’m proud from where we started March 14 to where we finished today. We were like two different teams.”

So this team is set up well for 2023.

“We’re very excited about the future,” Punzone said. “My young players now will become a year older. The team will be led by Meghan McGurk, who pitched every game for us … She has an unbelievable upside.” 

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