Hardy Plumbing
June 07, 2006

Bonackers Have A Star: Stavola!

There's no way around it. Jessie Stavola is the best high school softball pitcher around. With all due respect to Mattituck's senior hurler Annie Stype, a terrific pitcher in her own right, East Hampton's sophomore gunslinger is a pitching machine; a strikeout-inducing, no-hitter producing, shutout recording pitching machine. And by the time she's done with her high school career, every team on Long Island is going to know just how special a player she is.

"She's the kind of player [who] shows her emotions on her sleeve," says Lady Bonackers head coach Lou Reale shortly after Stavola pitched 18 innings without surrendering an earned run in East Hampton's run for the Suffolk Class A championship. "When we win a big game, the tears are there and she's just a tough kid that plays with a lot of heart. She works hard all winter and she's been working towards this [a county championship] all year. She wants to get to a certain level and she's putting in the time and the effort. She wants to be a good college pitcher. It pays off. Jessie's worked harder than anybody and she deserves everything she gets."

Stavola pitched a Suffolk-County-high three no-hitters this season along with six one-hitters this season and she's already eclipsed the school record for strikeouts in a season. Stavola has pitched 11 shutouts this season, compiling a mind boggling 0.30 earned run average while averaging less than one walk per start.

"You have to put a lot of work in: work out in the weight room, join traveling teams…if you think you're the best, you quickly see that there are a lot of girls on the Island doing the same thing," says Stavola. "I'm lucky because I get a lot of encouragement from my teammates. Our catcher Caity O'Brien has been working so hard all season and she's terrific. This is the best team that I've ever been on and that's on and off the field. We have so much drive."

Senior Willa Johann, one of East Hampton's top players, describes Stavola as "someone who plays with such passion for the game," adding, "Jessie's a player that never seems to get tired. Even after pitching ten [scoreless] innings the day before against Sayville, she goes back out there [for the class championship]. I was especially worried for her, but I quickly realized that there was no reason to doubt her. She's really incredible to have on the team."

Reale added, "To come back the next day, in that heat and pitch the way she did [on Tuesday against Islip], was just incredible. She just went out there and did her job."

"I was a little tired, but I couldn't allow them {Islip} to see that," Stavola says. "You try to keep yourself up, regardless of how tired you may feel."

In the last four Lady Bonackers playoff games, Stavola has yet to allow an earned run despite pitching in 31 innings; recording a perfect 4-0 record along the way to a Suffolk Class A title, and a Suffolk Small Schools Championship. She's also one of the team's top hitters, collecting several big hits this postseason.

A prime time playoff pitcher who has seen the same post-season success as Major League Baseball greats Dave Stewart, Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, Jack Morris and Whitey Ford, Stavola has already tattooed her name into the East Hampton High School sports record books.

Whitey, meet Jessie. Hey, it could happen.

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