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Waleko scores winner for East Hampton softball

East Hampton's Casey Waleko slides into Islip's Faith

East Hampton's Casey Waleko slides into Islip's Faith Laudano at home plate during a Suffolk softball Class A semifinal playoff game. (May 25, 2012) Credit: Steve Pfost

After a softball game for the ages that featured everything from a dramatic go-ahead home run to a crucial late-inning error, it seemed somewhat strange that the eventual winning run would score on a wild pitch.

But in the top of the 10th inning, East Hampton starting pitcher Casey Waleko darted home on a wild pitch and then threw a scoreless bottom of the 10th as No. 3 East Hampton topped No. 2 Islip, 6-5, Friday in a Suffolk Class A semifinal.

The Bonackers (16-5) will play No. 1 Sayville in Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

"I couldn't have done it without my teammates having my back and giving me all of those runs back," said Waleko, who struck out 14. "That kind of drove me after I gave up the home run."

That occurred in the bottom of the sixth with her team nursing a 2-1 lead. Islip's Savanna Juengerkes clubbed a three-run home run to left-centerfield on an 0-and-2 hanger.

"That was an 0-2 pitch, and you just can't make that mistake," East Hampton coach Lou Reale said. "And she just hung a meatball there. We're lucky we got away with that."

In the top of the seventh, East Hampton cut the lead to 4-3 on Deryn Hahn's one-out single. With two outs and runners on second and third, Kathryn Hess hit a fly ball to short rightfield that bounced off the glove of a Buccaneer outfielder. The Bonackers, one routine play from being eliminated, led 5-4.

Islip (17-5) tied the score off Waleko in the bottom of the seventh on Kathleen Burns' one-out RBI single. After neither team scored in the eighth or ninth, it went to international tiebreaker, which places a runner at second to start each inning.

After Waleko scored in the top of the 10th, there was still the matter of keeping the Buccaneers off the board. With one out in the bottom of the inning, first baseman Ilsa Brzezinski made a diving catch.

"It knocked the wind out of me when I hit the ground," she said.

Waleko struck out the following batter, and Brzezinski and company could finally exhale.


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