What to watch as the Nassau softball playoffs begin:
1. MacArthur’s domination continuing in a new class
When the defending Class AA Long Island champion MacArthur dropped down to Class A, it sent a ripple effect not only across Long Island, but across the state. MacArthur continued where it left off last season, sporting a 13-0 record in Nassau A-I to earn the No. 1 seed, led by the pitching and catching duo of twins Jess and Ashley Budrewicz. With a deep lineup including Shannon Myles, Kristen DiCicco and Lisa Fabig, the Generals are the favorite to take the Nassau A crown.
2. Island Trees holding strong
With a strong lineup featuring the power of Hannah Vogt (six home runs) and Gabby Scharff, the consistent hitting of shortstop Demi Obremski and pitching of Kate Valente, the Bulldogs had another strong season, finishing 11-4 in Nassau A-I for the No. 2 seed. After losing in the Nassau A semifinals last season, Island Trees looks to disrupt MacArthur’s run at a state championship.
3. Carey looking for revenge
Carey understands a strong regular season is great, but it doesn’t always translate to a championship. After falling the Nassau A championship to Clarke last season as the No. 1 seed, the Seahawks hope to on the road to redemption led by a strong lineup featuring Brianna Pinto, Jaclyn Rodriguez, Marissa Nicoletti and Megan McCormack at the top. Carey finished its season 10-4, with all four losses coming to Island Trees and MacArthur. The No. 3 seed has that to redeem as well.
4. Sophie Dandola looks to lead Seaford on a deep run
When you have pitching, anything is possible come playoff time and Seaford hopes that will play in its advantage. Dandola, a senior who will play for Hofstra last season, missed nearly all of last season with a toe injury and was slowed down this year with a leg injury, but she’s feeling better at the right time. Dandola tossed a three-hitter and hit a two-run home run in a 3-1 win over Island Trees May 3. Seaford finished 7-8 in Nassau A-I for the No. 4 seed.
5. The Nassau A Cinderellas
No. 5 Plainedge, led by Victoria Nowak in the circle, defeated Island Trees this season and has proved capable of having big performances in the biggest games. No. 6 Clarke, the two-time defending county champions, hasn’t had as strong of a season with pitcher Sarah Cornell now hurling for Hofstra, but remains a capable teams along with No. 7 Bellmore JFK and No. 8 New Hyde Park from Nassau A-I.
Nassau A-II provides some intriguing matchups with No. 9 Mepham’s strong lineup, which produced a 13-1 league record, along with No. 10 Division and No. 22 Bethpage rounding up the Nassau A-II top three.
6. Class AA will crown a new champion
With MacArthur in Class A, there will be a new team representing Nassau in the Long Island championship. Nassau AA-I has been top-heavy this season with East Meadow only losing once and Long Beach and Massapequa creating a large separation from Oceanside and Syosset, but come playoff time, that can change in an instant.
7. East Meadow’s offense is dangerous
There may not be a tougher task on Long Island than pitching against East Meadow. The Jets have scored at least 10 runs in 10 of 15 games this season. Led by Christina Loeffler’s eight home runs and eight wins in the circle, the Jets’ potent bats of Gianna Azzato, Amy Mallah, Jess Marsala and Jenna Laird hope to go far beyond last season’s Nassau AA championship appearance.
8. Can Long Beach spoil East Meadow’s season again?
The Jets’ only blemish came against Long Beach. With that, the Marines would enter any potential matchup with East Meadow deservedly more confident. Led with Tonianne Larson, one of the county’s top pitchers, in the circle and Paulina Cardona’s bat, Long Beach enters the playoffs as one of the county’s hottest teams — winning its final conference seven games and with an 8-4 Nassau AA-I record for the No. 3 seed.
9. Massapequa’s junior duo
Led by junior outfielder Francesca Cuttitta and junior pitcher Addie Jackson, the Chiefs had another strong season, finishing 8-4 in Nassau AA-I and with the No. 2 seed. Massapequa lost in last season’s semifinals as the No. 2 seed, and will likely need to avenge its two regular-season and last season’s elimination to East Meadow to take this season’s county title.
10. Nassau AA Cinderellas
No. 4 Oceanside (2-10) lost six one-run games . . No. 5 Syosset (1-12) will rely on the bat on Jenn Swing, who had eight home runs, in hopes of making a deep postseason run.
From Nassau AA-II, No. 7 Farmingdale (11-4), led by the pitching and catching tandem of Chrissy Hassett and Theresa DeSantis and No. 6 Baldwin (10-5) with an offense capable of putting up runs in bunches, led by Montia Moon, Yaya Spencer, Alex Burns, could be tough postseasons outs.
WEDNESDAY’S FIRST-ROUND GAMES
No. 12 Freeport at No. 5 Syosset (Winner plays at No. 4 Oceanside Friday)
No. 11 Hicksville at No. 6 Baldwin (Winner plays at No. 3 Long Beach Friday)
No. 10 Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK at No. 7 Farmingdale (Winner plays at No. 2 Massapequa Friday)
No. 9 Port Washington at No. 8 Calhoun (Winner plays No. 1 East Meadow Friday)
Winner of No. 17 Mineola/No. 16 Locust Valley at No. 1 MacArthur
Winner of No. 18 Hewlett/No. 15 South Side at No. 2 Island Trees
No. 14 Valley Stream North at No. 3 Carey
No. 13 Wantagh at No. 4 Seaford
No. 12 Garden City at No. 5 Plainedge
No. 11 Bethpage at No. 6 Clarke
No. 10 Division at No. 7 Bellmore JFK
No. 9 Mepham at No. 8 New Hyde Park