By Bill Landon
Comsewogue’s softball team continued its winning ways when the Warriors jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and never looked back, outscoring Islip 10-4 April 3 to improve to 3-0 this in League VIII.
The Warriors bats went to work from the opening pitch, and although Islip threatened in the bottom of the second, the team failed to capitalize with a runner on third. In the top of the third, Emily Whitman hit a homerun over the centerfield fence to put her team out front, 4-0.
“I thought they were stronger from last year even though they lost a lot of key players, but this year we came ready to win, and we did,” she said. “Our hitting — we were definitely all over that pitcher today.”
Islip broke the ice in the bottom of the third, scoring a run on a sacrifice fly, but couldn’t maintain the momentum, stranding two runners at the end of the inning.
Alyssa Bono’s bat cracked next, as she slammed her own first pitch past center field for a 5-1 lead.
“I thought we would have a good game against Islip — we lost twice to them last year when I was on JV so I knew this would be a hard game to win,” Bono said. “I thought we played well all around.”
Taylor Graves kept the inning alive when she ripped a double into deep right field, plating teammate Erica Hickey for a 6-1 advantage. Whitman kept the inning alive and smacked the ball through the gap in right center for a double that brought home Graves. Whitman took off to third base and narrowly beat the tag, looking to finish what she’d started. Julia Keller was up next, and patient at the plate. She found one she liked, and jumped on it, knocking a home run over center field for a 9-1 lead.
“I thought they’d come out a lot stronger,” Keller said of Islip. “We came in as the underdog, and we won. We’ll keep on hitting, but it’s our team bonding that wins games.”
Whitman took over on the mound for starting pitcher Alexa Murray in the bottom of the fifth, and retired the side in order.
Comsewogue went back to work threatening in the top of the sixth inning with runners on first and second, and as Murray stepped into the box, Graves was caught stealing to end the inning.
With their backs against the wall, Islip loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth following a pair of walks. Another walk sent home a run, a base hits scored two more to trail 9-4. With two outs, Islip drilled one right at Whitman, who was knocked down but able to stop the ball. Sitting on the ground from behind the mound, she made the throw to first in time for the out that ended the inning.
“Emily Whitman is unique — she’s one of the best players in the county and I’ll go to battle with her every time,” Comsewogue head coach Jason Surdi said. “When you have someone like Emily Whitman on your team, you have a chance to win every single game.”
With Patricia Kelly on second, Donna Scarth got the job done as she laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Kelly over to third, and Hickey finished it with a base hit that brought home another insurance one.
“This is a big win for this team — Islip is a perennial power, they’ve been in the county finals the past two years,” Surdi said. “I don’t know when the last time that Comsewogue has had a win against a county finalist — it could be 20-25 years so this is a big win for this program.”
With three outs left in the game, Islip would not answer as the Warriors handed the Buccaneers their first loss of the season.
“We’ve had a great start to the year,” Surdi said. “We have a lot of young players that have stepped up and right now we’re kicking on all cylinders.”
The team will play another powerhouse in Sayville April 5 at 4 p.m. Comsewogue will then travel to Rocky Point April 10 for a 10 a.m. matchup before hosting Miller Place at the same time April 12.