Emily Shurina didn’t feel the sting off the bat that usually comes with playing in the bitter cold.
While a ball hit on the handle or the end of the bat can make batters cringe, Shurina swung and found the barrel in the top of the third inning, sending a ball over the left-centerfield fence at Berner Middle School for a three-run home run.
The missile line drive that easily cleared the wall was part of a six-run inning in which the East Meadow softball team reclaimed the lead for good in a 13-7 win over host Massapequa in Nassau AA-I Thursday.
“Yes, it stings in the cold,” Shurina said. “But this one actually didn’t. Home runs always feel good.”
East Meadow jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run home run to centerfield by pitcher Christina Loeffler. The Chiefs answered with four runs in the bottom half, capped by a two-run single to center by Olivia Howes.
Both teams went quietly in the second before the Jets tallied six in the third for an 8-4 lead.
The Jets batted around in the frame, which started with Jenna Laird’s single to left. After a groundout, Loeffler drove in Laird with a single. Amy Mallah then ripped the first pitch of her at-bat to left, setting up Shurina’s three-run homer.
“I haven’t been hitting my best, so it felt better to finally get a ball that felt good,” Shurina said.
Sara Polansky and Sam Reyes both singled and scored later in the inning.
Loeffler went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly, four RBIs and three runs. She also tossed a complete game with five strikeouts. Despite a rough first inning, she settled down considerably the rest of the way.
“We had a bad inning in the first inning with a few errors,” she said. “And just to know that everyone picked each other up with the bats, it made me feel great in the circle to know I’m supported.”
East Meadow’s balanced lineup produced scorching hits in the frigid weather. Fans in blankets and wool hats watched as the Jets sprayed the ball to all fields and kept the Massapequa defense on its toes.
Loeffler and Shurina agreed that the lineup’s balance will be a strength for a team looking to avenge its 7-1 loss to MacArthur in last year’s Nassau AA title game.
“I feel we’re in a really good place,” Shurina said. “We’re practicing really well, and we’re hitting really well. Our fielding is really solid and our pitching is really solid.”