May 10, 2006
Lady Baymen On Winning Streak
Every softball season, one league tends to stand out from the rest due to its overwhelming competitiveness. That's not to say that each softball league in Suffolk County isn't competitive; it's just that most contain several "less-than average" teams that tend to top-weight a league, making the top half stand out with superb records and the bottom half representing the polar opposite.
Such is not the case this season in League VII, which can arguably be considered the most competitive softball league from top to bottom in the county this season. And it is in no small part to the spirited play of Hampton Bays.
With a record of 11-3 in league play, the Lady Baymen are currently in second place after qualifying for the playoffs with a 12-0 win over Southold/Greenport on May 4. Last season, Hampton Bays struggled to an 11-10 overall record. What a difference one season can make.
Following its win over the Clippers, Hampton Bays went on to record one of its most impressive victories of the season on Friday when senior Alyssa Lanino held the bats of first place Mt. Sinai firmly in check in the Baymen's 1-0 win over the Lady Mustangs.
Mt. Sinai had entered the game with a flawless 13-0 record in league play and a 16-0 record overall.
Lanino, Hampton Bays' ace pitcher, scattered six hits over seven innings while walking three and striking out 11 as the Mustangs offense was non-existent for the first time this season.
On Saturday, Center Moriches, representing the top team in League VIII, became the latest victim of the Baymen's six game winning streak as the bat of junior Marian Leeman led the way to a 10-5 victory.
Leeman, who was also the winning pitcher, had one of her best games of the season, collecting four hits in five at-bats and she also drove home three runs while teammates Lanino (3-for-3, 3 runs scored) and Jenna Kovar (2-for-3, 3 runs scored) each contributed strong performances at the plate.
Hampton Bays has been one of, if not the most, improved teams in League VII this season with players including Lanino, Leeman, Kovar, Sami Krantz, Kenzie Maloney, Serina Booth, Marissa Raimo, Kaitlin Cooper and Ali Hultberg each contributing to the resurgence of one of the most successful softball programs on Long Island for the past decade.
As the playoffs rapidly approach, Mt. Sinai (13-1) holds a slim one-game lead over the Baymen (11-2) although with the amount of talented teams competing in League VII this season, the standings can change each day. Bayport-Blue Point (10-3) and the red-hot Mattituck Lady Tuckers (10-3) are both candidates to finish atop the league standings having both qualified for the postseason earlier last week while Southampton (7-6), the sixth place team in League VII, is another candidate to make the playoffs. Five teams in one league qualifying for the playoffs would be impressive; six teams would be unprecedented.
Isn't it strange how competition, no matter how large a quantity, is capable of bringing out the best in a team?