What a difference a year makes for the North Babylon softball team.
After a .500 record last season coming off a league championship the year before, the Bulldogs have been eager for this spring. The players admitted they didn’t know from the start how this season would go, and it seems they may have even underestimated themselves.
“I thought this season was going to be tough,” centerfielder Catherine Zucker said. “From last season, I just thought it was going to be a hard season this year. But from starting in October, November, we just knew we were a big family.”
Whereas last season’s results were up and down, this spring has been consistent, shown as host North Babylon defeated West Islip, 4-1, Wednesday in Suffolk V. North Babylon — which had already clinched the league title — improved to 16-2.
“The girls were hungry,” coach John Egan said. “They were driven and determined and they really wanted it.”
And Zucker has been at the forefront of the team’s success all season. A five-year varsity player, who Egan called “probably the best player we’ve ever had in this program,” the leadoff hitter creates havoc at the top of the lineup with her speed. She went 2-for-2 with two runs Wednesday.
“I love starting the tone for every game,” Zucker said. “I hope it puts pressure on them while I’m running down the line. They see the ball coming at them, I just want them to have pressure on them. I like that.”
Behind Zucker, Destiny Schook, Patty McGloin and Ava Shorr provide some of the offense’s power. Schook went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a run, McGloin had a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 1 in the third inning and Shorr had the go-ahead RBI double later in the inning for the Bulldogs. Cara Quinn also had two hits and a run.
“We all played Little League together,” Schook said, “so we have a bond.”
Shorr, a freshman who tossed a three-hitter with six strikeouts Wednesday, has commanded the circle throughout the season, crediting the confidence given to her from her older teammates.
West Islip (12-5), in a cleanly played game lasting only an hour and a half, scored its lone run on Alexandra Michaluk’s single to drive in Samantha Landri in the third inning.
With a top seed heading North Babylon’s way when postseason begins next week, the Bulldogs are looking to keep their season going as long as possible.
“I just want to win,” Zucker said. “I just love to win. I want to keep going, I don’t want my senior season ending.”