You would have never guessed Emily Chelius had just thrown a no-hitter for the East Rockaway softball team by the way she walked off the field.
After a groundout to shortstop Hunter Vertuccio resulted in Chelius’ final out, the senior pitcher smiled, met her teammates and walked off the field, just as if it was the final out of any game. But she had just accomplished something special — completing a no-hitter, walking one with 12 strikeouts — as top-seeded East Rockaway defeated second-seeded Oyster Bay, 10-0, in Game 1 of the best-of-three Nassau Class B championship Thursday at Hofstra.
“Obviously you don’t try to do that,” Chelius said. “You just go out there and you just throw. You don’t think about throwing a no-hitter. You just think about the next batter every at-bat.”
The two teams play Game 2 Friday at 5 p.m. at Hofstra.
“It was really exciting, because the playoffs are the most exciting part of the year,” Chelius said. “It’s always a challenge.”
But East Rockaway coach Joe Lores wasn’t surprised by Chelius’ performance. He’s seen it many times over her varsity tenure, and not necessarily only between the lines. Chelius often asks Lores for space in the school’s gymnasium to throw in the winter while he conducts basketball practice.
“Today, she was just dynamite,” Lores said. “But this is when the lights are on. Nobody sees the time she puts in when no one’s watching.”
East Rockaway (10-11) received contributions from nearly its entire lineup. Najeri Felton went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, Mimi Bilardello went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored and Adriana Ramiriz went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Chelius added an RBI double and scored two runs, Hunter Vertuccio scored two runs and Siobhan Perini and Riley O’Hagan each added two hits in the win.
And with Chelius in the circle, the Rocks believe this playoff run can have a special outcome.
“I don’t even think there’s a measurable amount of confidence we have,” Felton said. “If we know she’s pitching, we’re good. As long as we have her back, we’ll be fine.”