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Love Drumgole

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Mustangs pitcher tosses complete game shutout, smacks RBI single in 5-0 win over Carey in fourth straight try for school's first crown

By Desirée Keegan

Emma Wimmer had been on the Long Island championship stage before, but this time, she wound up with a better result.

Wimmer whiffed eight batters in a complete game shutout, 5-0 win against Carey for Mount Sinai’s first Long Island Class A championship crown. The Mustangs had been to the big dance the last three seasons, but it seems the fourth time’s a charm.

“It feels nice to get the burden off our back,” said Wimmer, who pitched in relief in Mount Sinai’s 7-0 loss to MacArthur in the LIC last year. “We wanted to get a jump early — keep putting the ball in play — and stay strong defensively.”

“It feels nice to get the burden off our back. We wanted to get a jump early — keep putting the ball in play — and stay strong defensively.”

— Emma Wimmer

Wimmer did both. The starting pitcher struck out her first two batters in the bottom of the first before giving up one of just four hits Carey could muster in the game. In the top of the second, the senior’s RBI single to left center scored the first run of the game. Sam Valenti lifted a sacrifice fly to double Mount Sinai’s lead on the next at-bat. Junior Ilexa Skulnick scored on the play.

The plan was to pitch to contact and keep the ball on the ground, according to Wimmer, but her stuff was sharp, and the swings and misses were plentiful.

“I wanted to see how they were hitting, and if they were behind I would’ve thrown more changeups, but the fastballs worked today, and I mixed it up toward the end trying to keep them off-balance,” she said. “It’s such a nice feeling — getting outs, doing it for yourself. And it felt even better standing on that mound in the seventh inning finishing it out.”

An RBI single by Skulnick following a run-scoring error extended Mount Sinai’s lead to 4-0 in the top of the third. Junior Julia Golino went 3-for-4 and drove in senior shortstop Lové Drumgole for the final run in the top of the seventh with a sharp single up the middle.

Skulnick said this year the team approached the Long Island final with a different mindset.

“We needed to believe,” she said. “So, when you’re at bat, it’s ‘I can hit this ball, I will hit the next ball,’ and when you’re in the field and it’s coming to you it’s ‘I’ve got it,’ and I think that definitely worked for us.”

“We needed to believe. So, when you’re at bat, it’s ‘I can hit this ball, I will hit the next ball…'”

— Ilexa Skulnick

She chipped in solid defense, playing a ball on a hop for a force out at second — just missing a double play — in the bottom of the fourth inning and snagged a line drive for the next out, but she pointed to Wimmer as the catalyst behind the shutout.

“It’s amazing watching her hit her spots,” Skulnick said. “But we all felt loose, wanted to stay loose.”

Drumgole, who went 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a stolen base, grabbed an infield popup to retire the side in order that inning. The senior said the Mustangs hitting is contagious, but revealed she did hide how she was really feeling.

“I was nervous, but I couldn’t show that,” she said, adding that a broken glove in the seventh amplified her worry despite still making her last two catches for outs. “I had to pretend that I was 100 percent confident. But everyone remains a threat for us, especially on offense.”

Finally getting over the hump, Mount Sinai (23-4) will face the winner of Our Lady of Mercy/Iroquois at Moreau Recreational Park in Saratoga County in the state semifinals June 9 at 11:30 a.m.

Wimmer was beaming thinking of the Mustangs making their first trip upstate.

“For the longest time, I thought, ‘What is states?’” she said. “It’s crazy now to think we’re finally going to get to experience it.”

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Mount Sinai scores two wins over Sayville in double-elimination series to win fourth county title

The Mustangs have been on a mission since letting a four-run lead slip away in a second-round playoff loss to Sayville.

While the path the Mount Sinai softball team took this season may have been different from previous years, the outcome was the same. With a 10-3 win against Sayville Tuesday, May 29, the Mustangs earned their fourth straight Class A title with another chance for the Mustangs to grab the elusive Long Island crown.

Mount Sinai’s softball team hoists up its fourth straight Suffolk County championship plaque. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Mount Sinai (22-4) faces Nassau champ Carey (15-7) at 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 1 at Hofstra University.

“This is what I’ve been working for since my freshman year — a four-peat,” short stop Lové Drumgole said. “I was looking to keep everyone’s energy up because I knew we could do it, and I needed to make sure everyone believed in themselves as much as I did.”

It’s hard not to love the senior with love in her name.

She went 4-for-5 with two runs, two RBIs and two stolen bases and accounted for two of the Mustangs’ outs in the bottom of the fourth, one in the fifth and threw out a Sayville runner at the plate to end the game.

“We had to keep the pedal to the metal,” Drumgole said. “I knew the title was ours. They had to take it from us, and I wasn’t  letting go.”

Starting pitcher Julia Golino said she felt like she redeemed herself after her seventh-inning showing in the May 23 8-7 loss that sent Mount Sinai into the double-elimination bracket.

Mount Sinai’s softball team has won three more Suffolk County titles since earning the program’s first in 2015. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We knew we had to fight back, and we also knew we weren’t going to go down easy,” the junior said. “I wanted to show what I had, because I felt like I let the team down a little bit. This time I wasn’t going to give it up easy.”

Golino scattered 10 hits, allowed three runs with two strikeouts and one walk. She even made several catches on come-backers to help her own cause, like when Sayville threatened in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded and two outs. She’d made the first out of the inning, grabbing the ball as it passed her right ear before completing the play at first. A two-run double right after gave the Mustangs a scare of falling victim to the same late-game comeback, but Golino said she quickly shook it off.

“We have big bats,” she said, smiling. “And we make amazing plays in the field.”

The dual threat right-hander also went 3-for-4 with a single, double and triple and two RBIs at the plate.

Mount Sinai’s softball team huddles around Julia Golino after Mount Sinai’s fourth straight Suffolk County championship win. Photo by Desirée Keegan

After Mount Sinai entered the losers bracket, the team beat East Islip, Kings Park and Miller Place to make it back to Sayville. The Mustangs edged the Golden Flashes 3-2 in the first double-elimination game a day prior to force the winner-take-all final.

Holly McNair went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Ilexa Skulnick finished 3-for-4 with a double, but no one got the crowd going as much as Alaina Reilly. The freshman left fielder smashed a two-run home run in the top of the third to give the Mustangs a 7-1 lead. She said she hesitated for a moment, wondering if she’d really just knocked the ball that deep into right center.

“I felt so proud, and hearing them chant ‘She’s a freshman,’ it’s indescribable,” Reilly said. “We’ve worked really well together, and I’ve felt so welcomed this season — they really are just a great bunch of girls. We were so pumped because this was anyone’s game. Who cares what the stats say, it’s what you do in moments like this that make an impact.”

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Mount Sinai falls in the Long Island championship game for a third straight season. Photo by Alex Petroski

It took 23 games, but the undefeated 2017 Mount Sinai Mustangs softball team finally met its match in the Long Island championship game. The Mustangs fell to MacArthur, 7-0, June 2 at St. Joseph’s College for its first loss of the season. Sophomore starting pitcher Julia Golino allowed five earned runs, 10 hits and two walks over 3.1 innings to blemish her was-perfect record.

Mount Sinai prays for a rally in the seventh. Photo by Alex Petroski

Mount Sinai’s powerful offense managed just four hits in the final after scoring at least six runs in 11 out of their last 12 games. For a third consecutive season, the Mustangs reached the high of a county championship, only to fall short of a Long Island crown.

MacArthur’s Jessica Budrewicz shut down Mount Sinai with a complete game shutout, seven strikeout performance. She allowed three Mustang hits in the first two innings, but just one more over the final five. Mount Sinai head coach Thomas Tilton applauded her performance in the circle.

“She’s good man — she moves it, she’s got a rise ball, a nice changeup, she hit her spots and she didn’t miss much,” he said. “   Tip your hat to her, she’s a good pitcher. That kid can throw.”

MacArthur celebrates defeating Mount Sinai in the Long Island championship game. Photo by Alex Petroski

The Generals put Golino in a hole early, scoring the first five runs on two-out hits. Golino couldn’t escape trouble in the fourth frame, and junior Emma Wimmer had to come into the game in relief to stop the bleeding. Even a 40-minute weather delay due to thunder and lightning couldn’t cool off Budrewicz and the MacArthur bats.

The Mustangs’ head coach reflected on the impact the team’s three seniors had on the season.

“They left a great mark, a great mark,” Tilton said of the departing group of 12th-graders who helped deliver the first three Suffolk County championships in program history during their tenure. “They’re the foundation of what we’ve built here and hopefully we can continue to do it.”

The Mustangs will be returning all but one starter in 2018, as left fielder Angela Bukofsky is the only regular graduating.

Hailey LaGuidice swings at a pitch. Photo by Alex Petroski

“It definitely means a lot — it’s great,” an emotional Bukofsky said after the game of the three county crowns she’ll be leaving behind at Mount Sinai. She said her teammates were what she will miss most about playing for the Mustangs. “We definitely deserve it. We worked really hard to get here. Going from a record that was about even in wins and losses to being 22-0 is just amazing.”

Though the loss stung in the present, Tilton said he still has a hopeful eye on the future.

“I think we’ve got a really strong team again next year — we’ll be back at it,” he said. Golino and fellow starting pitcher Wimmer dominated all season in 2017 for the Mustangs, and both will be back to try to get over the hump in 2018. Standout shortstop Lové Drumgole, who Tilton called “the real deal,” and one of the best players on the Island earlier in the playoffs, will also be returning for her senior season to give a run at a Long Island title another shot. “We won’t be quitting,” Tilton said. “I can tell you that.”

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Lové Drumgole greets her teammates following her big home run. Photo by Alex Petroski

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.

Lové Drumgole rounds the bases after her grand slam. Photo by Alex Petroski

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.”

Julia Golino tosses a pitch. Photo by Alex Petroski

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.

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Mount Sinai senior Jessica Parente throws the runner out at first pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior Jessica Parente throws the runner out at first pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Mount Sinai scored three unanswered runs to lead 3-2 by the fifth inning, but a one-run lead wouldn’t be nearly enough as Clarke exploded in the final two innings under the Friday night lights at St. Joseph’s college, scoring nine more runs to claim the Long Island Championship Class A softball title, 11-4.

“This is the best softball team Mount Sinai has ever had,” Mount Sinai head coach Tom Tilton said. “They won the conference, they won the league and they won the county championship; something that has never been done before.”

The Clarke bats cracked first as the team scored two runs in the opening inning, but the Mustangs answered back in the bottom of the second after senior Emily Solomos drew a walk, and senior Julia Gallo hit a single up the middle to represent the tying run. With two outs, senior Jamie Parente’s bat spoke next with a long shot to left center field for a stand up double to bring home Solomos. With runners on second and third, Clarke miscued and on a wild pitch, Gallo crossed the plate to tie the game, 2-2.

Mount Sinai senior Jessica Parente led off in the bottom of the third with a single, and with a healthy lead off the bag, she drew a pick-off attempt from the mound. With an overthrow to first, she advanced to second base, and ran over to third on another passed ball at the plate, but the Mustangs’ first lead of the game would have to wait, as Parente was left stranded.

Mount Sinai senior pitcher Cassandra Wilson tosses a pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon
Mount Sinai senior pitcher Cassandra Wilson tosses a pitch in the Mustangs’ 11-4 loss to Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship on June 5. Photo by Bill Landon

In the top of the fifth inning, with one out and runners at the corners, Clarke attempted a squeeze play, but the Mustangs didn’t fall for the stolen-base attempt, and cleanly picked off the runners on their way to second and home, to retire the side.

Mount Sinai senior pitcher Cassandra Wilson smacked a lead-off single to start the bottom of the fifth inning. She put herself into scoring position by stealing second, and with freshman Love Drumgole at the plate with one out, Drumgole ripped one deep down the right sideline to drive in Wilson and edge ahead, 3-2, for the team’s first lead of the game.

Sophomore Angela Bukofsky answered next when she smacked a double to right center field, but Clarke pitched its way out of the inning to stop the rally.

Mount Sinai’s lead was short-lived, and in the top of the sixth, Clarke ripped a two-run home run 220 feet over the center field fence, to retake the lead. After a double, Clarke loaded the bases and plated two more runners by the end of the inning, to jump out to a 6-3 advantage.

Mount Sinai went scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, and took to the field for the final inning. The Mustangs’ opponent put together a five-run rally to blow the game open, 11-3, and give Mount Sinai a deficit that was difficult to overcome.

The Mustangs managed one final run in their last at-bat, when Bukofsky drove in Drumgole to trail 11-4, but it was too little too late.

“The senior leadership has been fantastic all year long and I’m proud of them,” Tilton said of his team. “They didn’t have their best game tonight, but we were right there with them through five innings. They gave it their best shot and that’s all you can ask for.”

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The No.1-seeded Mount Sinai girls’ softball team topped No. 4 Islip, 5-2 Saturday, for the team’s first Suffolk County Class A title in school history.

Senior Cassandra Wilson pitched the first three innings and left with a 4-1 lead after freshman infielder Love Drumgole evened the score at 1-1 with a sacrifice fly in the first inning, followed by sophomore first baseman Angela Bukofsky’s RBI double in the bottom of the third and senior outfielder Emily Solomos two-run double right after.

Eighth-grade pitcher Julia Golino, who went four innings, entered the game with two Islip opponents on base and no outs in the fourth, and escaped the inning thanks to senior Julia Gallo’s leaping catch at second.

Mount Sinai, which is now 21-2, and finished the regular season at an almost perfect 17-1 to claim the League V title, moves on to Long Island championship game Friday at St. Joseph’s College at 3:30 p.m.