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Gianna Castogliolo, Carey defense solid in Nassau Class A Game 3 victory

Carey's Marissa Nicoletti, left, is congratulated by her

Carey's Marissa Nicoletti, left, is congratulated by her teammates after hitting a home run against Mepham in Game 3 of the Nassau Class A finals on Saturday in Uniondale. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Carey softball team has put an emphasis on defense throughout the season, and in the biggest game of the year, the fielders were at their best.

No. 2 Carey defeated No. 4 Mepham, 6-1, in a decisive Game 3 of the Nassau A softball championships at Mitchel Athletic Complex Saturday morning, with all 21 outs being recorded in the field, without an error.

“Defense is the stuff that they take pride in,” coach Anthony Turco said. “They took the pride in defense and it’s what we’ve been working on all season. The old cliché that defense wins championships actually holds up today.”

The clean defensive performance behind Dana Romano’s seven-hitter led to Carey’s first Nassau title since 2014. The Seahawks will play the Suffolk A champion June 1 at Hofstra at 3:30 p.m. in the Long Island Class A championship / Southeast Regional final.

Turco credited shortstop Gianna Castogliolo, who had a hand in nine of the 21 outs, for a strong game in the middle of the field.

“She was just phenomenal today, she was the glue of our infield,” Turco said. “She had to be in order for us to win.”

Marissa Nicoletti started the offense with a solo home run in the first inning for Carey, which was coming off an 8-7 walk-off loss to Mepham Thursday forcing Game 3.

“It was big for her but I think it was even bigger for the team to just take the pressure off us,” Turco said. “Coming off a devastating loss the other day, they weren’t going to get down.”

Mepham (15-7) took the lead in the top of the third inning with RBI singles from Jenna Gilberti and Stefanie Simone. But the Seahawks (15-7), responded with three runs in the bottom half of the frame, an RBI single from Francesca Cirone and a two-run triple by Arianna Millan.

Nicoletti and Cirone each finished 2-for-3 with two runs and Millan added two hits in the win. Destiny Nardello had a two-run double in the fifth inning for the game’s final runs.

“It was just big kids coming up in big spots,” Turco said. “They just believed in each other.”

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