“Familiarity,” so the proverb says, “breeds contempt.”
In the case of Seaford softball -- facing regular season champions Plainedge for the third time in four days, in the rubber match of a three game series Thursday -- it bred something else. Runs. Four of them to be exact -- all in one explosive inning.
Down 1-0 against Plainedge ace Michelle Daubman -- who had brought her team six outs away from the Nassau County Class A title -- Seaford finally was able to get its offense going.
"This was our third time facing her,” said Seaford catcher Alex Palazzo, who was 2-2 with an RBI on a sacrefice fly against Daubman. “I just got used to seeing her.”
“I feel like we put pressure on her,” said winning pitcher Lindsay Montemarano (1-1, 2 walks). “You could see it in her face. That’s what we needed from her -- we took advantage of that.”
After having Plainedge 3-1 in the opener, Seaford had seemed vulnerable in game two, by a 5-1 margin.
This time around, Seaford hit Daubman effectively, while putting a lid on the Plainedge offense -- on the strength of Montemarano‘s three hit performance. Though Plainedge was able to scratch out a run in the first Seaford refused to yield another run over five -- despite allowing six walks, several errors and suffering bad hops in the field.
Then came arguably their biggest inning of the season, Seaford’s sixth. It commenced with two four-pitch walks to Val Insardi and Montemarano. Next up Victoria Wink -- who lined the first pitch into right center field for a triple and two RBIs -- erasing Plainedge’s lead.
“My first two times at bat I was a little shaky,” said Wink. “But with runners on I knew I had to get the job done.”
Wink’s blast was huge. So was Palazzo’s sacrefice fly RBI, and a perfectly laid down RBI bunt by Caitlin Hewitt, both of which proved vital to the margin of victory.
Montemarano, who had to face Plainedge‘s potent offense for two more innings, was acutely aware of that. “It feels good to have runs behind you,” she said. “The team came through.”
In fact Plainedge didn’t go down without a fight -- a bottom of the seventh rally produced a second run -- but it was too little too late. The Lady Vikings -- 3-5 on Apr 15 and shut out twice by Plainedge -- had completed a 10-1 march, sweeping right past the last team that stood between them and the county crown.
“It’s the most beautiful feeling in the world,” said Palazzo.
Seaford will take on the Suffolk County Class A champions June 7 at Riverhead’s Stotzky Park in the regionals, and see if they can keep the magic going.