To say the Long Island Lutheran softball team had modest expectations entering the season would be putting it mildly.
“We started off with a team that wasn’t supposed to win anything,” said pitcher and No. 3 hitter Skylar McCann. “We lost eight or nine seniors last year, so we were supposed to lose every game. But we ended the regular season undefeated [in the PSAA] and I’m just really proud of my girls.”
The Crusaders entered the PSAA playoffs as the top seed and reached the championship game, before falling to No. 3 Martin Luther, 8-7, at Portledge Tuesday. McCann, one of the two seniors on the team coach Artie Flomer said, ended up meaning much more to the team than her production between the lines.
“She’s been everything,” Flomer said. “She’s been a coach, she’s been a mom. She’s one of the only seniors on the team and they had to guide seventh graders. And we’re not here without her.”
McCann struck out 17, allowing three walks and three hits in a complete game, with two of the eight runs earned in her final game for Long Island Lutheran (10-3).
“My dad had me hitting in the basement when I was 3 years old, so this is my place,” said McCann, of Northport. “When I’m in the circle, I don’t hear any of the chants, I don’t hear anything. I feel at home and it’s my favorite place to be.”
Martin Luther (7-3) scored four runs in the seventh inning, after the Crusaders scored four runs in the sixth inning. Madison DeMaio had a three-run double in the sixth inning to give Lutheran a 7-3 lead. Melissa Blackman had a two-run single in the first inning for the Crusaders.
But following Tuesday, McCann will be trading in her softball jersey for a medical jacket. She will major in biomedical sciences at Liberty University, working toward becoming a doctor.
“I’m definitely going to take things I’ve learned from softball — and the responsibility — and taking it to the medical field,” she said. “I’ll be trying my best, as I always try to do.”