Mineola wins first regular-season softball conference title since 2008
Brianna Voyer wore a big smile as she excitedly screamed following her game-ending double play on the mound.
The pitcher caught a hard liner back at her and whipped it to first base to seal Mineola’s victory. The result was common this spring — a Mustangs win with Voyer pitching.
But for Mineola (14-2), its 7-2 victory over Valley Stream North (13-6) in Nassau III at Valley Stream High School meant far more than just another tally in the win column.
It’s the Mustangs’ first regular season conference championship since 2008.
“Even if we don’t wind up winning in the first playoff (game), we got here,” Voyer said. “It’s our first time since 2008 making it into the playoffs (as) conference champs. I’m just really proud of all of us.”
Mineola embraced playing on the road throughout the season. Coach Monique Wink said it gives them the opportunity to strike first and control the momentum.
“Being able to do that lets our pitcher pitch a little bit easier,” Wink said. “It lets everybody in the field just go and get outs.”
Mackenzie Fitzgerald and Sage Rowan each drove in a run in the top of the first inning, which gave Voyer a 2-0 lead to work with.
“I pitch when I’m most comfortable,” Voyer said. “I have a lot of faith and comfort in my girls. I know that if I make a mistake or if I miss a pitch, everybody’s got my back.”
Mineola extended its lead in the fifth as Julianna Plunkett hit a sac fly and Brianna DiVirgillio had a two-run single. Plunkett tripled in the seventh, scoring the team’s sixth run.
On the mound, Voyer never faltered. She struck out five in six innings, tallying her 100th strikeout of the season. She allowed just two hits and one run.
Wink swapped Voyer and Rowan in centerfield for the sixth inning. They swapped again in the seventh, so Voyer could close the game.
Wink said as long as the lineup isn’t changed, she can swap Voyer and Rowan as many times as she wanted. She wanted to give Rowan, an eighth-grader, a chance to pitch to prepare for the playoffs.
“(Sage) is a tremendous athlete,” Wink said. “They throw at different velocities. They throw different pitches, so it allows us to give the other team a different look and take a little pressure off Brianna.”