Members of the Oceanside softball team said that on the bus ride home after the county final last season, they threw their runner-up medals out the window.
"We were all so mad," Claire McNamara said, "because we knew we could be better than runner-up."
Well, now that runner-up label is also out the window!
McNamara's walk-off single capped a three-run rally in the seventh inning as second-seeded Oceanside beat top-seeded MacArthur, 6-5, in Game 2 of the Nassau Class AA finals at Hofstra to win the county title.
"We knew how it felt to go home," McNamara said, "and we just did not want to feel that way again."
Grace Bandini and Samantha Colten singled to start the seventh and Brittany Teman walked to load the bases. Risa Zucker then hit an RBI groundout to pull Oceanside within 5-4. Megan McNamara followed with a sharp grounder to short that was bobbled, allowing the tying run to score. Claire McNamara then hit a changeup up the middle to score the winning run, giving Oceanside its first county title since 2008.
"This is the best feeling in the world," said Zucker, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. "We are a comeback team. We like the challenge."
They needed a comeback after Jessica Lombardo homered in the top of the seventh to give MacArthur (21-4) a 5-3 lead. Lombardo, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, also doubled off the wall in the fifth for a 3-2 lead. Oceanside tied it in the sixth when Megan McNamara hit a grounder to third with runners on the corners. The throw came home and Alyssa Hernandez slid in safely to even the score at 3.
Oceanside (19-6) advances to the Long Island championship Friday at 6 p.m. at St. Joseph's College, where it will look to win more medals worth keeping.
"We're not throwing these medals out," Megan McNamara said. "This one is going in my room."
Her twin sister, Claire, who has shared a bedroom with Megan her entire life, agreed: "And it's going to stay there forever."
Carey 6, Clarke 0: Rebecca Vilchez's strategy was simply to think small. "If you think big," she said, "you're not going to hit the ball."
She hit it a long way. Her second-inning homer opened the scoring as No. 1 Carey beat No. 2 Clarke in Game 2 of the Nassau Class A finals to even the best-of-three series.
Jenna Turato tossed a four-hit shutout, walking none and striking out six. Brianna Pinto went 3-for-4 and Amanda Ulzheimer went 2-for-4 for Carey (21-3). Sarah Cornell allowed two earned runs, eight hits and one walk with seven strikeouts for Clarke (20-3). Game 3 is Monday at 3 p.m. at Hofstra.