All season long, the rallying cry on the softball diamond at Carey was to go from good to great.
That mission was accomplished on May 20.
Pinch-runner Keva Moore scored the go-ahead run on an errant throw with two outs in the top of the seventh inning to give the Lady Seahawks a 4-3 victory over Island Trees and a sweep of the best-of-three Nassau Class A championship series at Mitchel Field. It’s Carey’s first county title since 2005.
After the first two batters were retired, pitcher Jenna Turato singled sharply to left field. Moore was called on to pinch-run for Turato, and immediately went to second on a wild pitch. Freshman Brianna Pinto then smacked a single deep into the hole at short, and Moore came around to score when the throw to first sailed wide.
Carey, which improved to 21-2, will meet the still-to-be-determined Suffolk County champions on June 6 at Mitchel Field for the Long Island Class A crown.
Turato (17 wins) went the distance in the circle to earn the win. She’s a perfect 6-0 in the playoffs, with six shutouts. The journey to the county title was a long one for the junior. “It feels amazing right now,” Turato said. “We’ve worked so hard for so long over the years to get to this point. I watched all my sisters come close to winning when they played here. I always aspired to get this championship. This isn’t just a team victory; it’s a community victory.”
Carey held an early 3-0 lead, and appeared to be well on its way to locking up the crown. But Island Trees, the defending county champs, scratched out a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning to get right back in it.
In the bottom of the sixth, senior Lady Bulldog Shamar Sanchez was brought on to pinch-hit with runners on the corners and two out. Sanchez lined the first pitch she saw into right field to tie the game, setting the scene for the dramatic final inning.
Despite the fact that she’d been struggling at the plate of late, Pinto was very comfortable as she waited on a two-strike pitch. “I just knew I had to come through for my team,” she said. “They’ve had my back the whole season. I was just trying to hit the ball between short and third. I knew I had to get a hit there.”
The Lady Bulldogs had the tying run on second with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Turato induced a pop-up to third and a fly ball to short right to end the game.
Carey head coach Anthony Turco agreed with Turato’s assessment. “I wanted this to be about the entire community,” he said. “It takes a big commitment, and everyone bought into it. The parents are supportive. They back us up. These girls play a lot of ball apart from one another, but when they’re here, they’re unified. We won a county championship, and that’s great, but I’m more proud of them for sticking together.”