East Meadow’s bats have soared in April.
The defending New York State Class AA softball champion Lady Jets rallied from an early seven-run hole for a 21-9 win against Port Washington last Saturday, marking their fourth straight game scoring in double digits. Down 7-3 in the bottom of the second inning, junior Roseanna Cuttone lined a two-run double into the outfield that gave her teammates confidence they could mount a comeback, said head coach Stew Fitz said.
“This game showed that out team battles back when we’re down and we don’t give up,” he added.
Senior ace pitcher Christina Loeffler earned the win and also contributed two hits and three RBIs. Sophomore shortstop Jenna Laird, who started the game with 13 consecutive hits, went 2-for-3 with five RBIs. Junior third baseman Amy Mallah and senior catcher Sara Polansky had two hits and two RBIs apiece.
East Meadow (8-2) has won seven games by margins ranging from seven to 16 runs with a mix of solid pitching and steady hitting. Since an 8-4 loss at Massapequa on April 11, the bets have come alive with 67 runs during their four-game winning streak entering the week.
Loeffler, an All-County and second-team All-State selection last season, has pitched two shutouts. She struck out nine batters in a 12-0 win at Farmingdale on April 10, and tossed a two-hitter in a 13-0 downing of Hicksville four days later.
“Christina is our ace, for sure,” Fritz said. “We’re going to ride her for as long and as far as we can.”
Although Julia Cuttone, Roseanna’s twin sister, went just 1 ⅓ innings in her start against Port Washington, the first-time varsity player threw a three-hitter and struck out four batters over four innings when the Lady Jets drubbed Syosset 19-3 on April 12. Sophomore Stephanie Christoforatos relinquished only two runs on three hits in a 14-2 win against Plainview-JFK on April 17.
East Meadow’s offense has earned the juggernaut tag thanks in part to Mallah, who is among Nassau County’s leaders in home runs with five, and junior left fielder Juliana Sanzone, who has 17 RBIs that includes a two-out single that scored the walk-off run in a 14-13 win against Oceanside at home on March 28. Laird, though, has been the most impressive, continuing her ascent as a hitter with a .730 average after she batted over .600 and made first-team All-State last season.
“I’ve never had a player hitting that high for average,” said Fritz, who seeks his fourth county championship and third state title as the fifth-year coach of the team.
The Lady Jets sit in second place in Conference AA1 behind Massapequa, who they will host Friday at 4:15 p.m. in a game that could decide who claims the league crown. Fritz is confident his players can make a strong run, provided they communicate better on the field.
“That’s what we’re lacking a little bit, and some consistency,” he said. “Otherwise, our team can hit with any team in Nassau. If we get the pitching that I expect down the stretch, we’ll be a formidable opponent.”