Even during a rough regular season, Mepham softball coach Brenda Dolan kept telling junior first baseman Gianna LaSpina — "You’re my postseason girl."
Dolan doesn’t double as an astrologer (she’s a sixth-grade English teacher at MS 67 in Little Neck). However, after LaSpina’s two-game performance in the Nassau A championship series, maybe Dolan should consider buying some lottery tickets.
On second thought, don’t bother, coach. LaSpina and your Pirates cashed in a big winner of your own. LaSpina was 2-for-4 with two home runs, two runs scored and five RBIs as No. 2 Mepham won, 14-2, by the 12-run rule after five innings against No. 4 MacArthur in Game 2 to sweep the best-of-three Nassau A final series on Tuesday.
It was the second straight Nassau A title for the Pirates, who won the last time a postseason was played — 2019. Mepham (16-4) faces the Suffolk winner of Miller Place and Bayport-Blue Point at 3 p.m. Saturday for the Long Island Championship at Moriches Athletic Complex.
LaSpina, who was the MVP of the 2019 Nassau final series, went a combined 3-for-7 with a double, two homers, and seven RBIs in this championship series, and had an interesting reason for her uptick in the playoffs.
"I got a new bat [an Easton Ghost 2022] just before the playoffs started," she said. Silly question — how is it? "Oh my goodness," she added. "It feels amazing."
It looked amazing, too. Hofstra-commit Alanna Morse slammed a two-run double in the first to open the scoring. Morse, who reached base three times in four at-bats, later scored on a wild pitch. Four batters later, LaSpina crushed a three-run homer as the Pirates — who sent 11 batters to the plate — jumped out to a 6-0 lead.
Mepham, which scored 10 of its 20 runs in the first inning of the two-game sweep, was far from done. Senior Dominique DeLutri added a solo homer with two outs in the second, and LaSpina added a two-run shot to make it 9-0. The Pirates also stole five bases as a team.
MacArthur (7-12) got a two-run double by Jordyn Roth and trailed 9-2 after two. Presley Borne had the only other Generals’ hit in the game. Gia Miccio pitched the first four innings for the win.
"Their kids hit throughout the entire lineup," MacArthur coach Bobby Fehrenbach said. "With their speed on the basepaths, they created havoc."
So do their bats, especially LaSpina, who was the starting first baseman as a freshman when the Pirates lost to Sayville in the 2019 Long Island Championship.
"I just want to get that win," LaSpina said.
The Pirates and their "postseason girl" get another shot.