Smithtown West and Smithtown East are only 4 miles apart, and after Tuesday's game, the softball rivals are closer in the standings.
Thanks to a stellar complete game by Melissa Koster and an early power surge, host West won, 4-1, to move within a game of East in League III.
"It means a lot,'' West shortstop Kayla McCoy said. "It means a little more that they're on the other side of town, but we stayed calm and played it like any other game.''
West (11-4) opened the scoring in the first inning with Emily Horman's first home run of the season. Her solo shot barely eluded the glove of East leftfielder Morgan Johnston, who dove over the fence in an attempt to make the catch.
In the second, West went ahead 3-0 when No. 9 hitter Samantha Morganelli's two-out, two-run single to rightfield drove in Carissa Kinsella and Teresa Staiano. In the fifth, McCoy's double scored Morganelli to make it 4-0, and in the sixth, East (12-3) got its only run on a single by Maggie Engellenner.
West coach Dave Miller switched Morganelli from sixth to ninth in the order Tuesday, hopeful she would come up with runners on base.
"We moved her because I thought she could get those runners around, and she did,'' Miller said. "She's clutch.''
Koster allowed only one run, two hits and three walks, with three strikeouts. East's Samantha Moss gave up three earned runs in six innings.
Koster got help from her defense, which turned its first ground-ball double play of the season, 4-6-3, to pull her out of a jam in the sixth after East scored.
"I felt really great,'' Koster said. "I trusted myself, trusted my coaches and knew that my team was behind me 100 percent, so I wasn't afraid to throw.''
"Even though we're rivals, we're still Smithtown, and it's good to raise awareness,'' Roper said. "It was a well-played game, two teams going at it. so it's an all-around good day.''