Erika Sullivan received an unexpected phone call while relaxing at home on Easter Sunday.
The 31-year-old learned that she was one of four former Long Island high school softball players who were elected to the New York State High School Softball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 by the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports (NYSSCOGS).
Bay Shore’s Sullivan and Courtney Syrett, Hicksville’s Kim Zagajeski and Kellenberg’s Krista King were among 14 players and coaches in the state to receive the honor.
“I knew I was nominated, but I didn’t think about it too much,” said Sullivan, now an assistant varsity softball coach at Sleepy Hollow High School, and a third-grade elementary school teacher in Tarrytown. “When I learned I had actually been inducted, I was pretty shocked and pleasantly surprised.”
During her six-year varsity career, Sullivan went 53-9 as a pitcher with 624 strikeouts and 68 walks in 488 innings, a 0.63 ERA and 34 shutouts. She helped Bay Shore to five Suffolk League championships, three Suffolk crowns, a pair of Long Island titles and the 2005 state Class AA championship.
Syrett continued the tradition at Bay Shore after Sullivan graduated in 2007. Syrett led Bay Shore to a state championship in 2010, with two county titles, and also earned three consecutive Newsday All-Long Island First-Team selections, including Player of the Year in 2013. She finished her high school career with a .455 average, .731 slugging percentage, 23 home runs and 135 RBIs.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment,” said Syrett, who helped Ole Miss win the 2017 SEC Tournament championship. “I’m proud of myself, but I wouldn’t have gotten there without the support of a lot of friends, family and coaches."
Zagajeski is one of the more dominant players to come out of Nassau. She registered 437 strikeouts in 268 innings pitched and had a .508 career batting average at Hicksville.
She attended Fairfield University and was the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Softball Player of the Year in 1989 and 1991. She finished her collegiate career with a 1.54 ERA, 12th all-time in MAAC history among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched.
King was a key member of the Firebirds’ run of three straight state Catholic titles from 2012-14. The second baseman batted .500 for her career with a .572 on-base percentage, 96 runs scored and 50 RBIs. King struck out only three times in 306 career at-bats and committed just three errors in 84 games. Kellenberg went 72-12 in her career.
“It really is an honor,” said King, 23, currently in the physical therapy graduate program at NYIT. “I was going over an email I received with the names of the other recipients — and seeing what others have accomplished and to be amongst those people — I really am honored.”