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Varsity softball team’s defense, scoring coming together

HELENE STARZEE PHOTO Shortstop Phoebe Starzee making a nice running catch over her shoulder in the varsity matchup Monday between Shelter Island and Southold/Greenport at Fiske Field.

HELENE STARZEE PHOTO Shortstop Phoebe Starzee making a nice running catch over her shoulder in the varsity matchup Monday between Shelter Island and Southold/Greenport at Fiske Field.

The Shelter Island School varsity softball team is on a roll. As Coach Jackie Brewer predicted, the team is continuing to get better and better as they close in on the end of the season.

On Monday the team hosted Southold/Greenport. With many of their games ending at five innings this year, it was great to see some exciting fielding that allowed the team to go the full game against the Clippers.

Coach Brewer praised 9th grader Lauren Gurney for her poise and control on the mound, as well as the rest of the defensive effort. “Defense definitely kept us in the game,” she said.

Shortstop Phoebe Starzee had a crowd-pleasing backhanded snag for an out, and Amira Lawrence had the hot glove in center field grabbing three fly balls for outs. Unfortunately the bats didn’t keep pace, so the Clippers headed home with a victory.

The Port Jefferson Royals arrived the following day in their sleeveless uniforms, reveling in the warm sun. The Islanders were feeling the warmth as well, with sunflower seeds being shared between teammates, and Gurney and Lily Garrison sporting eye black to help combat the glare from bright skies. Starzee was on the sidelines, a splint and sling protecting a broken left elbow suffered in an off-the-field accident the night before. Melissa Frasco is also still on the DL, but hopes to be back on the field shortly to finish out her senior year.

Sarah Lewis pitched. Her three strikeouts closed out the side as Port Jeff jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first. But the home team came to play, and the first seven batters got on base, pulling the team to within 1 run at the end of the first inning, down 5-4. The next inning Lewis struck out two more before Garrison, who was at shortstop for the injured Starzee, made the first of her several nice plays of the day to get out of the inning.

The warm afternoon got steadily windier, with uniforms flapping in the breeze, and dust whipping across the infield. Emily Strauss held down first base and 7th graders Izzy Fonseca  replaced Gurney at left field, and Bella Springer switched with Audrey Wood in right field as everyone got playing time against the Royals.

Any balls popped up were difficult to track as they drifted on the wind, but catcher Bianca Evangilista was very active, and at the top of the 5th grabbed a high foul for an out. At third Domily Gil was intent on holding runners on, and she also grabbed a hot shot for an out, turning an immediate gasp from the fans into cheers.

The Islanders scored in each of the first four innings before the game stalled with the home team down 16-7 for the next 2 innings. With the sun getting lower in the sky, Julia Labrozzi had a nice hit in the bottom of the seventh to bring Gurney and Lawrence home to advance the Islanders score to 10. Labrozzi stole third  with a wildly thrown ball bouncing off the brim of her helmet as she slid into the base.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Lauren Gurney floating home for Shelter Island against Port Jefferson Tuesday at Fiske Field.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Lauren Gurney floating home for Shelter Island against Port Jefferson Tuesday at Fiske Field.

The 10 runs doubled the team’s previous high score, and although Port Jeff won the game, there was a happy mood in the dugout. Coach Brewer praised the team’s determined effort,

“This is a game to feel good about. This was the best game of the season, and I’m really proud of you today.”

The smiles on her team’s face reflected that pride, and packing up the equipment, they headed back to the school knowing that in just one week’s time they would again face the Royals in the final game of the season.

The final home game of the season is scheduled for Friday, May 5 at 4 p.m. against Pierson/Bridgehampton. Come send the seniors out in style!

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