The Shelter Island Varsity softball team finished its season with an away game in Port Jefferson on May 9. The Port Jeff team graciously included our seniors in its senior send-off game, as did our other away opponent, Southold/Greenport the day before.
Flowers were distributed and a few tears were choked back as seniors and team co-captains Julia Labrozzi and Melissa Frasco began to share the “last” bus ride, at bat, etc., with fellow seniors Amira Lawrence and Domily Gil. This was such a nice display of sportsmanship since our own home senior send-off game was cancelled due to rain and could not be rescheduled.
The team continued to improve throughout the season, however the loss of the seniors from the year before and injuries on and off the field led to difficulties in scoring runs. Gill had the highest batting average, closely followed by the two mainstay pitchers, and multipurpose players, Lauren Gurney and Sara Lewis. Gurney developed confidence as one of the only 9th graders pitching and Lewis — quiet and determined — shared the pitching duties the entire season.
Bianca Evangelista became a dominating force behind the plate daring opposing runners to try and steal a base. Lily Garrison had shared the catching position, but took over at shortstop when Phoebe Starzee suffered an off-field fracture.
Garrison proved that her quick hands and feet, from behind the plate, were even better utilized at shortstop with several quick throws to first base. Annabelle Springer, a 7th grader, is hoping to fill in as second catcher next year as Garrison and Frasco will be moving on.
Isabella Fonseca, another 7th grade student, proved she can handle the high fly balls to the outfield as well as playing third base. She and Springer also made contact a few times with the much faster pitching at the varsity level.
Emily Strauss connected for some solid hits throughout the season and played a strong outfield.
Rounding out the outfield were Maria Carbajal and Audrey Wood. Both developed their catching ability and faster bat swings as the season progressed. Lawrence was the mainstay in center, rarely letting any balls get by her, as well as swinging a strong bat throughout the season.
As a coach I always felt a calm relief when the high fly headed in Amira’s direction because I knew she would make the catch. Her quiet leadership will be missed.
Gurney made some great diving catches in the outfield when not called on to pitch. Lewis also played a strong outfield when Gurney was pitching. Frasco returned from an injury to finish the last three games and her sportsmanship and her team-first attitude will be greatly missed.
Labrozzi played her best defensive game against Southold snagging a hot line drive at second base and making a double play throw for an out at first. She also got her batting groove back for that game. Gil scored the only home run hit for the season showing her batting strength. She also played a solid third base.
The season numbers were tough since we lost so many games, and we were clearly out of our league against teams such as Babylon and Center Moriches. But I’m proud of the Island girls who continued to play and demonstrate good sportsmanship. We definitely need some rebuilding for strength and confidence to meet the challenge at this very advanced level of play.
To our seniors, good luck and you will all be missed. Remember there is no place like home. To my other players and “graduates” of little league, keep throwing and hitting, go to softball camp and we’ll see you in the spring!