Tied at zero in the bottom of the ninth inning, an unfortunate Mepham High School error cost the Lady Pirates their quarterfinal game of the Nassau Class AA Playoffs against the East Meadow Lady Jets, bringing their championship dreams for this year to a close.
With a runner on third base, host East Meadow scored the game-winning run due to a Mepham wild pitch; in softball, a wild pitch results in runners progressing to the next base, in this case giving the Lady Jets the win and a spot in Thursday’s Nassau Class AA semifinals.
“It was a great game, and the girls played their hearts out,” said Mepham head coach Mike Muscara. “But a bad bounce of the ball cost us the game. What are you going to do?”
The fast-paced game opened with intensity, the two evenly-matched teams unable to score on one another despite their every effort. The first official base hit of the game didn’t even occur until the fifth inning, when East Meadow finally knocked one into the outfield. However, the Jets were unable to convert this hit into points on the scoreboard.
The scoreless game continued past normal play and into extra innings, with the two teams locked into a bitter stalemate that neither seemed able to budge.
But despite the deftly-hurled pitches of Mepham’s Toni Valeriano, the game very nearly came to an end in the bottom of the eighth inning, when East Meadow’s Kerri Shapiro almost scored a home run off a deep hit into the outfield, only to be stopped just shy of crossing home plate by Mepham catcher Claudia Law, causing a roar to erupt from the crowd.
However, a wild Valeriano pitch to Law with East Meadow’s Claire Travis on third in the bottom of the ninth inning sealed Mepham’s fate, ending their exciting championship run. The Lady Pirates finish out their season with a record of 11 wins, 7 losses.
Mepham coach, Mike Muscara, gave his opponents his respect, while in the same breath vowing to avenge the loss at a future date.
“We had our opportunities, they had theirs,” he said. “They made the most of their opportunities, but the kids played well. It was a great year, and we’ll be back.”