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Jenna Laird leads East Meadow in Game 1 of Nassau Class AA softball final

Sophomore has two hits, a run and an RBI to back winning pitcher Christina Loeffler.

East Meadow's Jenna Laird leads off with an

East Meadow's Jenna Laird leads off with an infield single during Game 1 of the Nassau Class AA softball finals against Calhoun at Mitchel Athletic Complex on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Jenna Laird was sitting in the back of her fifth period geometry class.

But the East Meadow sophomore’s mind wasn’t on figures or shapes, unless you count a softball diamond.

“All I was thinking about throughout the day,” said Laird (who has a 94 average in the class), “was that I have to get everyone pumped up for the game.”

Then the shortstop took care of things on the field, too. Laird had two of the three Jets’ hits, a run and an RBI as top-seeded and defending state champ East Meadow defeated No. 6 Calhoun, 2-1, in Game 1 of a best-of-three Nassau Class AA final series at Mitchel Athletic Complex on Wednesday.

The teams meet again at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Mitchel. Calhoun (17-4) needs a win to force a Game 3 that would be Saturday. If the Jets win, they will advance to their second straight Long Island championship. Laird, who started playing varsity as an eighth-grader, has been a big part of the Jets’ success.

“She’s phenomenal,” East Meadow coach Stew Fritz said about Laird, who has committed to Hofstra. “You never know if she’s 0-for-4 or 4-for-4. She has such a game face.”

Laird led off the bottom of the first with an infield single and scored on an RBI groundout by winning pitcher Christina Loeffler. East Meadow (16-5) made it 2-0 in the third on a double from Laird that brought home Stephanie Christoforatos.

Calhoun finally got to Loeffler in the sixth when Kayla Pilotti (3-for-3) singled home Heather Berberich, but Jets rightfielder Sam Reyes threw out a Colts runner at the plate to help end the threat.

“It was a game-changing play,” Fritz said. “They had the momentum, they scored a run, but Sam made a beautiful throw.”

Loeffler scattered six hits and allowed a run with nine strikeouts and three walks for the Jets.

Castogliolo propels Carey. The formula has been pretty simple for Carey this season: timely hitting, solid pitching and an outstanding defense. The No. 2 Seahawks did all three facets well and earned a 5-2 win against No. 4 Mepham (14-6) in Game 1 of the Nassau Class A best-of-three final.

Carey (14-6) broke open a 2-2 game with two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth. Gianna Castogliolo was 2-for-3 with two doubles, a run and two RBIs, and Catherine Hammer went 2-for-2 with an RBI.

Dana Romano scattered six hits with five strikeouts and earned the win.

“I call her the Greg Maddux of softball,” Carey coach Anthony Turco said of Romano. “She doesn’t throw hard, but she puts the ball where she wants and has great movement.”

Lilly Galasso leads Baymen. Lilly Galasso was 4-for-5 with four RBIs and winning pitcher Kristen Aasheim was 2-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs as No. 2 Oyster Bay won Game 1, 12-4, in a best-of-three Nassau Class B final series against top-seeded and defending champ Wheatley. Jamie Galasso was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Katrina Zucconi was 2-for-5 with two RBIs for Oyster Bay (10-11), which beat Wheatley (10-9) twice during the regular season. Mikaela Cornelius was 3-for-5 with an RBI, Skylar McEvoy went 2-for-5 with an RBI, and Reilly Iles was 2-for-5 with two runs for the Baymen, who won the Nassau B crown two seasons ago.


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