East Rockaway nipped by Babylon


East Rockaway’s magical spring on the softball diamond came to an end as the Lady Rocks dropped a 7-6 nail biter to Babylon in the Long Island Class B championship game played on the campus of St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue on June 4.

The Lady Rocks held a 6-5 lead as the game went to the bottom of the seventh inning, but a two-out single by Miranda Richards scored Gwen Donaldson to cap off a two-run rally. East Rockaway, which finished with an overall record of 22-6, had gone ahead in the top of the sixth on a two-run triple by freshman Marisa Felbinger. 

Head coach Joe Lores couldn’t have asked for more from his team. “If someone told me at the beginning of the year that we’d win a county championship, I may not have believed it,” Lores said. “These girls did everything they were asked, and they persevered. It was just a terrific season.”

Senior pitcher Gianna Cilluffo, who earned a program-high 22 victories in the circle, picked up All-County honors. Cilluffo was also one of the team’s top threats at the plate. She led the team with seven home runs and batted .490.

Jessica Deptulski also earned All County recognition, batting a team-high .545. The senior catcher shattered school records for hits in a season with 50, and runs scored with 44. Second baseman Jessica Cerasoli was an All-Conference honoree, while center fielder Samantha Mantovani picked up All-League honors. Senior Dorianna Gross was a scholar-athlete award winner.

The Lady Rocks had advanced to the title game with a 5-3 victory over Locust Valley in the deciding game of the best-of-three county championship series. Deptulski and Cilluffo hit back-to-back homers in the top of the eighth inning to give East Rockaway the win. A homer by freshman Caitlin O’Mara tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the sixth.

Lores was quick to thank the students from Darien, Connecticut for their major contribution to the team. A joint effort carried out by Darien High School’s Community Council and Royle Elementary School’s Student Government raised funds to buy equipment for the Lady Rocks. All of the team’s equipment was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

“Without their help, we might not have been able to have a season,” Lores said. “I can’t thank them enough. They’re a part of this remarkable season.”