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East Meadow softball falls in state semifinal

East Meadow after the loss to Corning-Painted Post

East Meadow after the loss to Corning-Painted Post in the state Class AA semifinals in South Glens Falls. Photo Credit: HANS PENNINK/Hans Pennink

SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. — The East Meadow softball team has become synonymous with trips to Moreau Recreational Park in recent years, and that isn’t something the Jets overlook or take for granted.

The 2017 state champion played in its third straight state Class AA championship game Saturday, falling to Corning-Painted Post, 3-1, in the semifinals. But even in the loss, the Jets are proud of their accomplishments along the way.

“It’s just such a great feeling to know I’ve always had such a great team and we were able to make it here three straight times,” senior Amy Mallah said. “Not many teams can say that they made it to the state championships three straight times.”

Although it was the final varsity game for Mallah, who had 11 home runs and 44 RBIs this year, she had a profound impact on the players who will be coming back next year.

“She brought a lot to this team,” shortstop Jenna Laird said. “She brought laughs, her bat, her fielding. It’s going to be really tough to replace Amy with everything. It’s going to be a person missing.”

Mallah also brought work ethic, something coach Stew Fritz said he’s always admired about the third baseman.

“What people don’t really know about Amy is that she’s the type of kid where after practice, she will go practice on her own for two hours,” Fritz said. “If there’s one little mechanical thing she doesn’t like, she’ll go fix it. She’s one of the most dedicated kids I’ve ever had the honor of coaching.”

On Saturday, Corning-Painted Post (19-4) put together a two-out rally to score two runs in the third inning, stringing together four straight hits and two runs before Ellie Daugherty was thrown out at the plate by centerfielder Stephanie Christoforatos to end the inning. Erin Austin homered in the fourth for Corning-Painted Post’s final run.

“All you can ask the kids to do is compete, and they competed,” Fritz said. “And today, the better team won. They beat us. No excuses.”

“We did everything we could,” Mallah said. “In the end, we fell a little short, but I know we put all the hard work in. We don’t have any regrets. And that’s what I’m happy about.”

The lone run for East Meadow (19-5) came on Alex Kelly’s RBI single in the seventh. She drove in Isabella Shepherd, who had tripled.

“They strung hits together, that was the big difference,” Fritz said. “We couldn’t string along any more hits. We had a couple in the last inning but other than that, we had one hit here, one hit there. We just didn’t get anything going and that was the difference in the game.”

With Mallah, catcher Rosanna Cuttone and outfielder Julia Cuttone as the only three starters from Saturday graduating, the Jets hope to make a fourth straight appearance in the state championships next year.

“We’re going to have a lot of motivation next year, but Amy was a major part of our motivation this year, so we’re going to have to replace that,” Laird said. “But we’re going to have a lot of other people who want to make it back here again.”

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