With victories in six of its last seven games, Lawrence (9-6) secured its first winning softball season since 2009 while matching its win total from the past three years combined.
“We essentially played 11 kids and they were all magnificent,” coach Tom Frawley said. “It was a very rewarding season. The girls worked hard and came up big.
“We were balanced with our hitting and both pitchers did an excellent job,” he added. “We had to battle through that awful weather like everyone else. We were supposed to play three scrimmages and three non-league games, but we only got in one of each.”
The Lady Golden Tornadoes lost their first two conference games out of the gate, but Frawley said wins over Valley Stream Central and Uniondale gave them a much-needed confidence boost. “Those two wins showed this year wasn’t going to be like last year when we went 3-12,” he explained.
Last year’s win total was matched at the midway mark and then the offense began to heat up in late April. Seniors Olivia Levi and Diana Nyman set the table from the leadoff and No. 2 spot, hitting .423 and .413, respectively, and combined for 48 runs scored. They were also among the team’s RBI leaders (Levi had 36), thanks in large part to junior Erica Pagano, a first-year player, and sophomore Brianna Ramirez (.318 average), making things happen at the bottom of the order. Ramirez (shortstop) had three hits and Pagano blasted a homer to lead an 18-12 victory over Malverne in the finale on May 2.
“Olivia and Diana were tremendous at the top and Erica and Brianna were really good turning the lineup over,” Frawley said. “They all used their speed on the bases.”
The heart of the order was comprised of juniors Brooke Kirchner and Tamia Vassar, and seniors Sharon Canales and Rachel Kendal. Another key piece was senior Dayris Beltran, who capped Lawrence’s biggest win of the year, a wild come-from-behind 8-7 decision over Roslyn on April 28, with a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth.
The Lady Golden Tornadoes trailed that game 7-0 before scoring eight times in the inning. Levi had a three-run triple and Kirchner and Vasser followed with RBI singles. Sophomore pitcher Jardina Gomez, who earned six wins this spring, retired Roslyn in order in the top of the seventh on a strikeout and two infield pops, to shut the door.
Gomez’s ability to limit walks and pitch around the big hitters was her keys to success, Frawley said. “She was consistent and in control,” he said. Canales also worked well in the circle and picked up three wins.
Nyman was behind the plate for every inning, the coach noted, while Levi (third base) and Kendal (second base), both three-year starters, led what Frawley described as an “adequate” defense.
“It’s tough not having a youth league in the area, but we’re working hard to build the program,” Frawley said. “Our JV had eight wins and we had 24 girls on the middle school team.”