CLASS A SEMIFINALS | GOLDEN FLASHES 6, WILDCATS 1
The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats learned after their playoff opener Wednesday that come the postseason, what happened in the regular season is a distant memory.
After losing twice to Miller Place in the regular season, the Wildcats rebounded to win 3-2 in 9 innings in the quarterfinals.
Against Sayville Friday afternoon on the road, the Wildcats found themselves in the opposite situation.
Twice they beat Sayville in the regular season, but their pursuit for the sweep ended with a 6-1 loss in the Class A semifinals. The Golden Flashes advance to the best-of-three county championship beginning Tuesday against either No. 2 Islip or No. 3 East Hampton.
The fourth-seeded Wildcats, meanwhile, will have to wait one more year for a shot at their first county title since 1997.
Top-seeded Sayville scored three runs in the fourth and fifth innings to open up the lead after the game started as a classic pitcher’s duel.
“Sayville’s competitors and so you can’t give them too many outs,” said Shoreham coach Christina Shiffman. “That’s exactly what happened. We just gave them too many outs.”
Sayville senior Merissa Selts threw a four-hit shutout to earn the win for the Flashes, who will look to win their first county title since 2009.
Selts started the Flashes’ first rally when she led off the fourth inning with a hard liner into left field that sailed over the left fielder’s head. Selts raced around to third base. The Wildcats intentionally walked Kathleen Maehr, the Flashes’ All-County cleanup hitter.
It was a move that worked for the Wildcats in the regular season. But this time the No. 5 hitter, Cindy Griffin, made the Wildcats pay when she looped a ball into shallow right field to score the first run.
Shoreham pitcher Chelsea Hawks got the next two batters out and was ahead 0-2 on Jackie Christensen. But her next pitch got too much of the plate and Christensen doubled to right field to make it 3-0.
Hawks got the first two batters in the fifth inning and again was ahead 0-2 on the next batter before things unraveled. Selts leaned into the 0-2 pitch and was hit by it. The Wildcats again walked Maehr intentionally and Griffin delivered with an RBI single.
“It worked for us earlier in the season,” Shiffman said. “So you go with what works and it didn’t work for us this time.”
In the seventh Sayville brought in Maehr to close the game. But after the first two batters reached and with a 3-0 count on the next batter, the Flashes brought Selts back in from right field to get the final three outs.
The Wildcats had the bases loaded with nobody out, but Alyssa Stalzer lined out to third base in a double play as the runner at third couldn’t scramble back to the bag in time.
Shoreham finishes the season 15-7. Sayville improves to 18-3.