The Mount Sinai softball team is on to the Suffolk County Class A championship thanks to a stellar pitching performance by an underclassmen, and a little dose of Lové.
Sophomore starting pitcher Julia Golino shut down Westhampton Beach in a complete game performance in the semifinals May 23, and junior shortstop Lové Drumgole provided the bulk of the offense with a second-inning grand slam to help the Mustangs secure a 7-4 win at home. Mount Sinai will face the winner of the May 26 matchup between Westhampton Beach and Sayville for the right to wear the Suffolk County crown. The Mustangs, who went 18-0 during the regular season, have still yet to lose a game in 2017.
If Mount Sinai were to lose to the winner of the May 26 matchup during the May 27 final, which starts at 10 a.m., the teams will play a final elimination game at a time and date to be decided.
“They’ve been battle tested,” head coach Thomas Tilton said of his team. “You’re talking about a team that was 65-3 over the last three years. They’ve been behind, they’ve been in front — they just lean on one another. Everyday there’s a different hero, and that’s the way they play. It’s a team, that’s all I can say. They’re gritty and they don’t give up.”
Tilton spoke highly of his sophomore starter, who held Westhampton to one run through six innings before surrendering a walk and two hits sandwiched around a two-run error. It created some tense moments for the Mustangs in the final frame, though they held on for the victory.
“She’s a warrior,” Tilton said of Golino. “She got a little tired in the end; she was getting caught on her hip a little bit, but our defense is usually better than that. We stress fundamentals, especially on defense, and we got away from it a little bit, but they collected themselves.”
Drumgole came to the plate in the second inning with the bases loaded and no outs and a run already in during the frame to put the Mustangs ahead 2-1.
“That felt great,” Drumgole said of the grand slam home run which put her team ahead 6-1. “It was an outside pitch and I just hit it where it was pitched.”
When asked if the four-run-producing swing relieved some of the pressure the team might have been feeling in a tight playoff game, Drumgole downplayed the significance and said her approach never changes based on the score.
“She’s for real — that’s one of the best players on the island, by far,” the head coach said of his star shortstop and leadoff hitter. “She does it all. She’s one of the cornerstones of the team, so they all look up to her.”
Drumgole and team captain and senior left fielder Angela Bukofsky praised the “youngin” Golino for her toughness in the performance, repeatedly using the word “amazing.”
Golino said she gained confidence after Drumgole’s big swing.
“I think it gave us an advantage, coming out strong, and I think it made us able to stay strong throughout the game and determined — you can’t let up,” she said.
Mount Sinai had chances to put the game further out of reach, but left the bases loaded in the third inning, and left runners on second and third in the fourth. In the fifth inning, with runners on first and third, a line drive to shortstop was turned into a 6-3-2 triple play with Drumgole getting cut down trying to score by Westhampton’s first baseman. Golino recorded the final out of the game with the tying run in the on deck circle.
This version updates the dates and times of the championship games as per Section XI, as changes in the brackets occurred.