May 03, 2006
Bonackers Close In On First
The reaction of East Hampton's star pitcher Jessie Stavola said it all. With an impressive leap in the air, followed by an emotional celebration at the pitcher's circle with her teammates, Stavola and Co. had managed to exorcise some of the demons that still lurked since League V rival Sayville defeated the Lady Bonackers 1-0 in a heartbreaking Suffolk County Class A final late last spring.
"It was a really big game for us," said East Hampton head coach Lou Reale. "Our two losses last year were to Sayville and it meant a lot to the girls to get over the hump of that final game."
With a commanding 5-1 win over the Golden Flashes last Friday, the Bonackers (10-2 in League V) handed Sayville (8-3) its third loss of the season, moving past their opponents and into sole possession of second place in the league standings. But more important, East Hampton showed its critics, along with scouts from first place East Islip (10-0), who were in attendance at Sayville High School, just how a great team beats another great team — with pitching, timely hitting, and superior defense.
"It was a little bit of a statement game for us," said Reale. "If anybody had any doubts about us before this game, I don't think that they have any now. I think we showed everyone what we're capable of doing."
And at the forefront of last Friday's game was Stavola, who scattered five hits over seven innings without walking a single Sayville batter, striking out 11 including 10 the old fashioned way — swinging and missing.
"It was a big game for Jessie," Reale said. "Even though it was in the middle of the season, there was a lot on the line. She's an emotional player and she takes every game very seriously. This was something that she's been building up to all season. She waited almost a year to get back here and play this team and she wanted to prove herself. It was a big game for both teams."
In a game that took on a playoff atmosphere from the very start, East Hampton wasted little time in jumping on the scoreboard as Julianna White hit a long triple to the outfield to score Marta Johann and then crossed home on Mylinn Nguyen's sharply hit single to give the Bonackers a 3-0 lead.
Marta Johann added an RBI double in the sixth inning and Stavola helped her cause by delivering an RBI single to bring home Johann moments later. Stavola was one of the game's hitting stars, going 3-for-4. Sayville's lone run was helped via a Bonackers fielding error because for the duration of the game, the Golden Flashes were unable to solve the riddles Stavola was throwing towards them.
"It was really good for us, knowing that we could beat them and beat them the way that we did," Reale said. "They [Sayville] didn't hit the ball hard against her [Stavola] and one of the hits they got was on a check swing. Jessie thrives on pressure and has really matured as a pitcher. She's regarded as one of the top pitchers in Suffolk County and she's done nothing to disprove that."
East Hampton continued to get good production from all areas of its lineup with White, Johann, and Nguyen each collecting key hits off of Sayville's top pitcher Jill Squillante.
"We hit the ball great and had some clutch hits from Julianna, Marta, and Mylinn," Reale said. "They came through for us big time." White was also a force in the field for the Bonackers, tagging out Anne Marie Smith in the fourth inning to complete the rare 5-3 double-play.
The Bonackers would go on to sweep a doubleheader with Huntington on Saturday at East Hampton High School, winning the first game 8-0 and the second 15-0.
In game one, Kristen Carroza pitched a five-hit complete game shutout and struck out five while Devin O'Brien, Nicole Fierro, and White provided the offense.
O'Brien went 3-for-4 with three doubles, and a season-high five RBI, Fierro, a freshman went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Johann added a 3-for-4 game with three RBI.
Stavola struck out nine batters and allowed four hits in game two's five-inning affair to record her third shutout of the season.
White went 2-for-3 in that game with an RBI and Kelsey Bodziner had her best game of the season, going 3-for-4 with a run batted in.
"Just coming off a real emotional game on Friday, it was good to see the girls continue to hit the ball so well," he said. "From top to bottom, everyone has been hitting the ball great. There's still a way to go, but I'm happy with the way we're pitching, hitting and fielding. We're getting to where we want to be."