Coach Bob Fox said it best: “You can’t avoid us, we hit one through nine in the lineup, all of our girls can really hit.”
The Blue Waves (8-3 League IV) played a sound all-around game winning 9-2.
The two runs scored by Smithtown East (7-4) came in the first inning. Amanda Graziano, who threw a complete game, shook off early rust as she quickly regained her all-star form. Graziano only surrendered one hit beyond the first inning, featuring a stretch of four consecutive one-two-three innings.
“Amanda’s really picking up speed,” said Fox. “Every game she gets better and better.”
The Blue Waves quickly fired back after falling behind 2-0, scoring two runs to tie the game in the bottom of the first inning. After Sara Tucci and Alex Mckillop reached base, Graziano took the first pitch she saw into the outfield for a single. With the bases loaded, Megan Weiss, taking full advantage of the No. 5 hole in the lineup, nailed the first pitch she saw, tying the game with a 2-RBI single.
Riverhead continued their success in the third inning as they posted four runs extending the lead to 6-2. They batted around, sending all nine batters to the plate, highlighted by a RBI single by Stephanie Falisi and RBI ground-rule double by Karla Vanston.
Vanston would strike again in the bottom of the 4th inning, when the Blue Waves scored the last three runs of the game, with another RBI double. Vanston, who bats 7th in the batting order, hit 2-for-3. The ninth batter in the order, Joscelin Morrow, also produced significantly hitting 2-for-3.
Notching the 8th win of the season brings the Waves closer to their first playoff birth in three years. 10 wins are needed in order to qualify for the playoffs. League IV has five teams that may qualify for the playoffs as all had at least seven wins coming into the day.
“I’ve never ever seen anything like that,” said Fox. “I’ve never been in a league where there are so many teams vying for first place. Usually you have your two bottom teams, then two teams that are kind of in the middle, two great teams and one team trying to become great.”
“We’re really fortunate to be 8-3 in our league,” said Fox. “I’ve said it all year long, I feel like we’re in the best league in Suffolk. We could easily be 1-9 right now.”
Senior Mckillop displayed confidence following the win: “We are playing so well right now. We can definitely qualify for the playoffs. We have to just keep moving forward and play hard.”
In the post-game huddle, Fox awarded the girls for their great play. The girls screamed in joy as they fell on their backs in disbelief.
“I told them no practice tomorrow,” said Fox. “They deserve it.”
RiverheadLOCAL photos by Michael Hejmej
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