Skyler Cirillo had a year many would want to forget, but it’s an experience she’ll always remember.
After rehabilitating from a torn labrum in her shoulder, the Lindenhurst shortstop broke her ankle, ending any chance she had to play in her 2017 junior season and sending her into a frustrated state of mind.
“It shut me down, definitely,” Cirillo said. “I didn’t think about quitting, but I was really down on myself. A lot of time alone to think about what I should do about softball. It was really depressing, honestly, because I just love playing, so I didn’t want it to be over.”
She worked to return for her senior season and as her send-off, Cirillo — who hit .486 with a 21-game hitting streak and 24 RBIs this spring — played in the inaugural Long Island exceptional senior softball All-Star Game Tuesday night at Hofstra. She drew a walk and made standout plays at second base.
“I went an entire season and I didn’t get to play a single game,” Cirillo said. “So now that I’m playing in this game, it’s just a big honor.”
Suffolk used a five-run fifth inning, featuring a homer by Cassandra Smith (Center Moriches), an RBI double by Emily Sannuto (Sachem North) and a run-scoring single by Katie Burk (East Islip) in an 11-3 victory over Nassau.
To make the game possible, Lindenhurst coach Rick Caravaggio and Islip coach Dennis McSweeney worked with Long Beach coach Carmine Verde during the winter.
“We just said, ‘How is it that we don’t have a Long Island All-Star Game?’” Caravaggio said. “Now you’ve got the best of the best softball players on Long Island on one field. It’s just amazing.”
In working with former Hofstra softball coach Bill Edwards for the field space and Amity Harbor Sports for providing uniforms, Caravaggio and Verde hope that the Nassau vs. Suffolk Game will become an annual event.
“By going to a Nassau vs. Suffolk game, I think it generates more excitement — more interest,” Verde said of the change from separate county All-Star Games. “I think the kids are definitely more competitive and I think it’s a lot of fun.”
For Austyn Durham, who hit 11 homers for Great Neck North playing in a lower conference, Tuesday provided an opportunity for the senior to play and prove herself with girls she’s heard so much about. Durham made the most of her moment, blasting a solo home run in the sixth inning. Ali Verdi (MacArthur) added a two-run homer that drove in Hannah Vogt (Island Trees) in the ninth inning for Nassau.
“I’m so excited to be playing,” Durham said. “All these girls have so much talent and there’s so much talent all across Long Island.
“It’s really cool to see it all in one place because you hear about these girls and they’re like legends to me, so it’s great to be playing on a field with them.”
Suffolk added two runs in the eighth inning, with a single by Jenna Kreiling (Eastport-South Manor) driving in Lyndsey Shaw (Sayville) followed by a run-scoring double from Rachel Katz (Half Hollow Hills West). Suffolk scored three runs in the ninth, on Shaw’s triple that drove in Jessica Clark (Newfield) and RBI singles from Allie Stanya (Babylon) and Katz.
Shaw finished with three hits, just a home run shy of the cycle.
“I think it’s really amazing,” Durham said. “It’s been a great opportunity to play in high school and then to finish it off with an event’ the first year of an event in such a big one like this, is just exciting.”