North Shore produces 11-win season


The big bats of North Shore’s softball team created lots of runs and excitement, but not a playoff berth. 

The Vikings finished at an outstanding 11-4, posting 198 runs in 15 games with a sparkling .483 team batting average. But North Shore fell short of a playoff berth by one game, hurt by two extra-inning losses late in the year. 

Nicole Petrucci, an assistant coach since 2020, served her first season as Vikings head coach and managed to get the most out of a predominately junior lineup, which should mean a 2025 playoff future.

“It was a great year,’’ Petrucci said. “Everyone worked hard. It was a great group of girls. Our biggest strength definitely was our hitting.’’

Yes, the balls were flying off North Shore bats. Five girls hit over .500 – three of them over .600. That amounted to the best record North Shore has posted since Petrucci has been part of the program.

Ten of its 11 wins came via the mercy rule which ends games when a 12-run lead is achieved by the fifth inning. 

The players cited offseason batting drills by their new coach as paying off. 

“{The hitting) was a huge improvement since last year,’’ senior shortstop Jolie Waiksnis said. “We worked a lot on our batting from the open gym this year. It was a huge improvement from every player. (Petrucci) taught us a bunch of different drills, which helped our strength and toughness at bat.’’ 

The leader of the Maroon Bat Patrol was junior pitcher Grace Ryan, who posted a .698 batting average with four home runs and 35 RBI. Ryan scored 25 runs and her slugging percentage was a whopping 1.4.

“She had a really good season at the plate,’’ Petrucci said. “She struggled with her pitching because of an injury but she was really amazing.’’

The lone senior, Waiksnis was the engine as leadoff batter, hitting .600 with 22 RBI and six stolen bases. She was a defensive help at shortstop and also chipped in at centerfield. 

Waiksnis, the lone impending graduate, can’t wait to see what Ryan does next year. 

“She’s a great hitter,’’ Waiksnis said. “She’s always very consistent with her hitting. She always stayed confident and likes to hit the ball to left-center. It’s a tough ball to get to.’’

Junior Adriana Porcaro was vocal on the field and with the bat as she posted a .667 average – second highest.  “She’ s a great leader,’’ Petrucci said. “One of those players you know is going to be a coach when she gets older.’’

Vanessa Jahnke and Megan Whitcomb hit .548 and .512 respectively. Jahnke stole seven bases while Whitcomb drove in 26 runs – second-best on the team. 

In a rare close victory, North Shore beat neighbor Locust Valley, 11-7, for its highlight win. But the extra-inning, crushing losses to Manhasset and East Rockaway were the Vikings’ undoing.

 High-school games are seven innings school and it was 12-12 against unbeaten Manhasset after seven. In the top of the ninth, Manhasset exploded for 9 runs to cop a 21-12 win. 

“Honestly, I had the most fun with this team since I’ve played here,’’ Waiksnis said. “I had such a fun time this whole season. Everyone played amazing. We had a great season in total even though we didn’t make the playoffs. We were so close to beating an undefeated team (Manhasset). It was a huge accomplishment.’’ 

On May 6, North Shore still could’ve squeaked into the playoffs but lost, 3-2, to East Rockaway in the top of the eighth. 

“Two crazy games,’’ Waiksnis said. “We were one game away. It was tough. The team we went up against (East Rockaway), we were neck to neck. It was really close.’’

Eleven juniors plan to be back for the 2025 season.  “I think it’s going to be good to build off this year and keep going forward,’’ Petrucci said. “We should make another good run.’’