Meet the athletes who hit, pitched and fielded their way onto the Newsday All-Long Island softball team for the 2015 season.
LI PLAYER OF THE YEAR: SARAH CORNELL, Clarke, P, Jr.
Sarah Cornell stepped to the plate in the seventh inning of the state championship game.
On a field nearby, her friend and fellow pitcher Marissa Rizzi was being interviewed. Rizzi was interrupted by the crack of the bat and the cheer of the crowd. "Did she just . . . " Rizzi paused and looked toward the field as Cornell rounded the bases. "Wow! She is so good!"
Cornell was so good all season. That home run, a three-run shot, ignited Clarke's dramatic comeback to force extra innings. Though Clarke fell one victory shy of a state championship, Cornell guided the Rams to their most successful season as they won their first Long Island championship. She had a 23-3 record, including seven shutouts, with a 1.82 ERA and 357 strikeouts, including the 1,000th of her five-year career. The Hofstra commit batted .385 with nine homers -- two in the state tournament -- and 42 RBIs.
"Being named Long Island player of the year completes my 2015 season," Cornell said. "It's a great accomplishment I was hoping to reach. Since I'm a junior, I know there are more opportunities to keep reaching for something bigger."
SUFFOLK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: MARISSA RIZZI, ESM, P, Jr.
Marissa Rizzi went 24-3 with two no-hitters, 10 shutouts, a 0.69 ERA and 199 strikeouts pitching to her twin and catcher Christina.
Bound for St. John's University, she had a slash line (batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage) of .484/.515/.703 with two home runs and 36 RBIs as she helped to lead Eastport-South Manor to its first county and Long Island championships at the AA level.
"It's such a great honor to be chosen as the Suffolk County player of the year," Rizzi said. "I would like to share this with my sister, Christina, for everything she did behind the plate making me look good, and my defense behind me. We succeeded and made it as far as we did because everyone contributed."
KAITLYN SNYDER, Hauppauge, SS, Sr.
Kaitlyn Snyder, a five-tool player, hit .539, with a Suffolk County-high nine home runs. She drove in 36 runs and recorded a 1.150 slugging percentage. In the field, she showed great range and a strong arm. Will attend Molloy.
GABBY MARCHESCHI, St. Anthony's, P, Sr.
With pinpoint control and great movement, the New England College-bound Gabby Marcheschi went 17-2 with a 1.78 ERA while guiding the Friars to a league title and to the state championship game. Named pitcher of the year by the CHSAA, she also hit .447 with 21 RBIs.
CLAIRE MCNAMARA, Oceanside, SS, Sr.
Claire McNamara's walk-off single capped a three-run rally that gave Oceanside the county championship. An aggressive base runner, she hit .470 with two home runs, 18 RBIs and 31 runs scored. Sure-handed with great range at short.
MEGAN MCNAMARA, Oceanside, C-OF, Sr.
Megan McNamara hit .409, with two home runs, 18 RBIs, and 31 runs, and drove in the tying run in the county championship clinching game. Great at calling and framing pitches.
LEAH MELE, Longwood, SS, Sr.
The LIU Post-bound Leah Mele, also an All-Long Island first team pick as a junior, hit .431, walked 13 times, and scored 23 runs. Tremendous ability to go back on pop-ups and throw on the run.
NICOLETTE MOUSTOUKA, MacArthur, CF, Sr.
A line-drive hitter, Nicolette Moustouka set the table for top-seeded MacArthur by using all fields. She batted .391, with 34 runs scored and 25 RBIs. Bound for Mount St. Mary's, her ability to track balls helped the Generals advance to the county championship series.
DANI NAPOLI, Riverhead, SS, Sr.
Dani Napoli drove the ball from gap-to-gap with extra-base power. Hit .603 with 14 doubles, three triples, five home runs, and 35 RBIs. Made just three errors in 64 attempts at short. Bound for the University of Geneseo, where she will also play field hockey.
DARBY PANDOLFO, Massapequa, C, Jr.
Some umpires called Darby Pandolfo the best defensive catcher they'd seen. Because of her arm strength and quick release, not many runners attempted to steal against her. Great at blocking off-speed pitches. Had a slash line of .452/,562/.959 hitting leadoff, with seven home runs and 22 RBIs.
KIM PUZO, St. Anthony's, 3B, Sr.
Kim Puzo hit .453 with four home runs and 25 RBIs while guiding the Friars to their first league title since 1997 and within one victory of a state championship. The Union College-bound infielder was named player of the year by the CHSAA.
JENNA TURATO, Carey, P, Sr.
Jenna Turato, also headed for Molloy, used her ability to hit her spots and keep hitters off-balance in helping to lead Carey to within one victory of a second straight county title. Went 14-4 with a 0.76 ERA and 124 strikeouts, and walked just 14 in 119 innings.
SAMANTHA VAN DORN, Patchogue-Medford, P, Sr.
Named League I pitcher of the year for the second consecutive season, Samantha Van Dorn went 12-3 with a 1.56 ERA. Tossed five shutouts, including a one-hitter against county champion Eastport-South Manor in the playoffs. Bound for Cortland, she also hit .400.
MARISSA WILSON, Sachem East, 1B, Sr.
Called the toughest out in the county by some opposing coaches, the Post University-bound Marissa Wilson hit .546 with two homers and 36 RBIs while leading the Flaming Arrows to the county championship game. Had a .972 fielding percentage at first base, saving many errant throws.
NASSAU COACH OF THE YEAR: RACHEL BARRY, Clarke
First-year coach Rachel Barry led the Clarke Rams (23-4) to their first Long Island championship, and was within five outs of winning a state title.
SUFFOLK COACH OF THE YEAR: TOM TILTON, Mount Sinai
Tom Tilton guided Mt. Sinai to its first county championship and a 21-3 record.
ALEXIS ALVINO, Division, SS, Sr. (pictured)
JANAE BARRACATO, Sacred Heart, 3B, Soph.
JESSICA BUDREWICZ, MacArthur, P, Fr.
SOPHIE DANDOLA, Seaford, P-3B, Soph.
KATIE GRODSKI, Mepham, CF, Sr.
OLIVIA KACZMAREK, Sayville, C, Sr.
JESSICA LOMBARDO, MacArthur, SS, Sr.
KAILAH KONKEL, Eastport-South Manor, SS, Jr.
KELSEY LARSON, Long Beach, SS, Sr.
ASHLEY MELENDEZ, Island Trees, P, Sr.
ALYSSA PERSICH, Commack, CF, Sr.
KATHERINE PIORKOWSKI, Kellenberg, P, Sr.
SELENA RUIZ, Clarke, C, Sr.
CRISTA SAN ANTONIO, East Meadow, SS, Sr.
ALLIE STANYA, Babylon, P, Fr.
VICTORIA SWAINE, Connetquot, 1B, Sr.
REBECCA VILCHEZ, Carey, OF, Jr.
CASSANDRA WILSON, Mount Sinai, P-CF, Sr.