Heading into its final turn at-bat Memorial Day afternoon trailing by three runs, Seaford was facing a strong possibility of returning to Mitchel Athletic Complex for a decisive third game against Carle Place in the Nassau Class B softball championship series.
Then the Vikings, who took Saturday’s series opener, came alive in a big way after managing just two hits through the first six innings. They rallied with three runs in the top of the seventh to force extra innings, then exploded for seven runs in the eighth for an 11-4 victory in Game 2.
Sophomore catcher Katie Young opened the eighth with a leadoff homer over the fence in left and capped the outburst with a three-run triple as Seaford captured its first county title since 2011. The Vikings had three hits in the seventh and six hits in the eighth, including a pair of perfectly placed bunt singles by Game 1 hero, sophomore Alyssa Rodriguez, who scored in both innings.
“We were down most of the game and we knew we just had to stick together,” Young said. “Everyone did a great job getting on base. We batted around in each of the last two innings which was amazing.”
Carle Place scored all four of its runs on just one hit in the bottom of the fourth when Seaford’s defense had some issues behind sophomore pitcher Skyler Secondino. None of the runs were earned.
“Championship teams stick together in the face of adversity,” Seaford coach Joe Nastasi said. “Adversity is a part of sports and a part of life. Nobody’s perfect and we know we’re going to have to battle through rough spots. The girls were able to turn the page on that bad inning and respond. It just shows their character.”
Down 4-1, Katie Young, sophomore Kaitlyn Young (no relation) and Rodriguez all reached in the seventh and scored. The Vikings also left the bases loaded, but Secondino retired the Frogs in order in the bottom of the frame to force extra innings.
A few pitches into the eighth, Seaford took the lead for good. Secondino had a key two-run double with two outs to make it 7-4 and scored on senior Gabby Bellamore’s single for an 8-4 cushion. Then it was back to Katie Young, who cleared the bases with her second hit of the inning.
Young said she wasn’t sure her eventual game-winning homer was going to clear the fence and kept running hard in hopes of getting a double. “I was leading off and just wanted to get on base and start a rally,” she said. “We had the momentum and wanted to keep it going. I’m so happy right now.”
The Vikings (13-10) will face Center Moriches in the Long Island Class B championship game Thursday at 5 p.m. at Farmingdale State College.
Seaford topped Carle Place in the series opener, 5-1, thanks in large part to the pitching of Secondino (one-hitter with 13 strikeouts) and Rodriguez’s three-run double in the bottom of the sixth.