Longwood’s Emily Koerick made her signature grunt as she released her 92nd pitch of the game. Half Hollow Hills West’s last swing became a high pop-up right above the Lions’ senior.
“I thought,” Koerick said, “ ‘Don’t drop it.’ ”
The ball fell gently into her glove. Koerick then slammed the ball and glove to the ground to punctuate No. 2 Longwood’s 2-1 win over No. 5 Hills West in the Suffolk Class AA softball final on Tuesday.
Longwood (21-2) faces Nassau champion and defending state Class AA champ East Meadow (17-5) at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Long Island Class AA final at Hofstra.
“We went 4-16 in 2016,” Koerick said. “We worked so hard for this, and we deserve this.”
The host Lions did all their damage in the first inning against the Colts’ tough Jillian Weinstein, who has thrown every pitch for Hills West (20-6) this season, including five straight wins in six days in the losers’ bracket.
Longwood’s Molly Ryan (2-for-3) slammed a double off the leftfield fence to drive in Koerick with two outs, and Natalie Intrieri followed with an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
Hills West made it 2-1 in the third when Weinstein sent a long smash to deep centerfield, just in front of the 225-foot sign, for a sacrifice fly that scored Karlie Cennamo.
“Weinstein hit the ball 223 feet, and we needed 225,” coach Bryan Dugan said. “Game of inches, man.”
Weinstein allowed two earned runs and five hits, with no walks. Koerick tossed a four-hitter and allowed a run with four strikeouts and one walk.
“She does everything,” Ryan said of Koerick. “She pitches her heart out for us every game.”
Mount Sinai four-peats
Mount Sinai didn’t do things the easy way — having to come out of the losers’ bracket — but the third-seeded Mustangs (22-4) won their fourth straight Class A title with a 10-3 win against host Sayville (20-3). Julia Golino went the distance and was 3-for-4 with a single, double and a triple for the Mustangs, who face Nassau champ Carey (15-7) at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Hofstra in the Long Island Class A final.