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10 things to watch for in Suffolk softball playoffs

Sayville's starting pitcher Maddie Recker against Mt. Sinai

Sayville's starting pitcher Maddie Recker against Mt. Sinai on May 10, 2018. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

1. The depth of Suffolk I

The teams in Suffolk I have beat up on each other throughout the season, and the playoffs likely will be no different. Here’s the case why any of the Suffolk I teams in the playoffs could take home a Suffolk Class AA crown.

Sachem East: Led by Makayla Manalo and Hailey Puglia in the circle and with an offense featuring Lauren Lucas, Jackie King and Jessica Berger, Sachem East has a deep team that can win in a variety of ways.

Sachem North: Led by Sam Butler both in the circle (11 wins) and at the plate (three home runs), Sachem North won 13  games after finishing .500 last year. Krya Bello is tied with Butler for the team-lead with three homers.

Longwood: The defending Suffolk AA champions returned nine players from last year and have played strong softball all season, led by Kayleigh Olsen, Natalie Intrieri and Angelina Oquendo.

Patchogue-Medford: After winning two games last year, the Raiders’ turnaround season has been led by shortstop Melanie McClinchey and centerfielder Cat Saxen.

Commack: Commack has finished in the top four of Suffolk AA in each of the last four seasons. This year, the team is led by the pitching of Emmi Katz and Sarah O’Connor. Alexa Berry leads all hitters with four home runs.

Ward Melville: Pitching is always key, and with Kristina Maggiacomo in the circle, the Patriots are always in the game. Ward Melville made its first playoff appearance since 2002, according to coach Joseph Burger.

2. Bay Shore looking to return to glory

The Marauders, a softball powerhouse in the late 1990s and early-to-mid 2000s, look to return to the top of Suffolk AA. Bay Shore has had a strong season from the start, with its only two losses coming to Northport. Bay Shore features a strong offense with Caroline Hobbes (six home runs), Jazmine Cuffie (three homers) and Chrissy Coan and Daja Farmer as a part of a deep lineup.

3. North Babylon on top

The Bulldogs enter the Suffolk AA playoffs as the top seed, with their only two losses this season coming to West Islip. North Babylon also tied a very talented Kellenberg in non-league. The Bulldogs have strong pitching in Ava Shorr (14 wins) and a deep lineup, which features Shorr and Destiny Schook

4. But don’t count out…

West Islip: The Lions handed North Babylon its only two losses this season, and enter the playoffs on a six-game winning streak in a competitive Suffolk League III. Led by the pitching of Jamison Lundie (13 wins) and power of Julianna Budriss (four home runs) and Brianna Adams (three homers), West Islip could go on a long playoff run.

Smithtown East: The Bulls lost all four matchups to West Islip and North Babylon, but they beat everyone else. The hitting of Sammi Swenson (five home runs) and Tori Hussey (three homers) and pitching of Marina Amicizia will strongly dictate how far Smithtown East advances.

5. Mount Sinai looks to defend crown

The defending Long Island Class A champions had another strong season, despite the graduation of Love Drumgole, last year’s Newsday Player of the Year. Julia Golino has been dominant in the circle all season, throwing multiple no-hitters, and keeping hitters off-balance. She’s also a part of the Mustangs' balanced lineup, along with seniors Holly McNair, Ilexa Skulnick and Molly Birnstill. Mount Sinai lost three games all season, two to undefeated Sayville.

6. Sayville looking to remain undefeated

The Golden Flashes have been the most consistent team on Long Island this season, dominating nearly every game in a 19-0 season. Sayville has only one win by one run and one win by two runs. The deep lineup features Kylie Buck with three home runs, along with Elizabeth Yoskowicz, Angie Capuano and Brooke Scheibe. Maddie Recker has eight wins with Mallory Kinahan adding seven wins as a pitching duo, as Sayville looks for its first Suffolk Class A title since 2014.

7. East Islip looking to carry strong finish into the playoffs

East Islip won eight of its final nine games -- its only loss coming to Kellenberg in non-league -- and is entering the most important part of the year playing some of its best softball. With the No. 2 seed, East Islip looks to go on a deep run, led by Allison Dell’Orto both in the circle and at the plate, along with Lauren Crawford, Jenny Murphy and Sam Winegard and Kyra Kreuscher at the plate, with Kreuscher contributing in the circle.

8. Islip looking to return to form

The Buccaneers won their first 10 games before finishing 4-4 over the final eight. But with the hitting and catching abilities of Suffolk’s leading home run hitter (nine) in Keren Hodulick, Islip can score runs in bunches. Julia Pastrana has nine wins in the circle.

9. Don’t count out…

There is tremendous depth in Suffolk A, especially with some stellar pitching from some of the lower ranked teams.

Kings Park: Runs will be hard to come by against Taylor Eggert. She has multiple no-hitters this season, including three in a row. Pitching can carry a team in the playoffs.

Hauppauge: Led by the sister duo of Giuliana and Fania Abruscato, and Molly Cain, the Eagles can score in bunches.

Miller Place: The Panthers have eight shutout victories this season, led by the pitching of Hannah Burton and Jessica Iavarone. Iavarone also has three home runs.

Eastport-South Manor: The Sharks have a top pitcher in Nikki Caesar and enter the playoffs on a four-game winning streak.

10. The Class B playoffs

Top-seeded Babylon looks for its third straight Long Island Class B championship, led by the pitching and hitting of Alexa Tenety, who leads Long Island with 16 wins. The Panthers have a lineup that can beat you in many ways, featuring Danielle Donaldson, Emily McGurk, Meghan Flaugher and Michelle Ruggiero.

Babylon’s biggest challenge will come from Center Moriches, which nearly defeated the Panthers in the regular season. Babylon needed a three-run seventh inning in the comeback win in the final game of the season. Kaylie Roberts (four home runs) and Maddie Hujber lead the Center Moriches offense. Erin Cunningham has eight wins. Mattituck, with the power of Jaden Thompson and her seven home runs, could go on a run also.

The schedule

Suffolk AA opening round on Monday

Winner of No. 17 Whitman/No. 16 Bellport at No. 1 North Babylon

No. 9 Riverhead at No. 8 Longwood

No. 12 Connetquot at No. 5 Smithtown East

No. 13 Northport at No. 4 West Islip

No. 14 Newfield at No. 3 Sachem East

No. 11 Lindenhurst at No. 6 Sachem North

No. 10 Commack at No. 7 Patchogue-Medford

No. 18 Deer Park/No. 15 Ward Melville at No. 2 Bay Shore

Suffolk A opening round on Tuesday

Winner of No. 9 Half Hollow Hills West/No. 8 Bayport-Blue Point at No. 1 Sayville

No. 5 Kings Park at No. 4 Mt. Sinai

No. 6 Hauppauge at No. 3 Islip

Winner of No. 10 Eastport-South Manor/No. 7 Miller Place at No. 2 East Islip

Suffolk B opening round on Wednesday

No. 4 Hampton Bays at No. 1 Babylon

No. 3 Mattituck at No. 2 Center Moriches

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