By Andrew Wroblewski
Taylor Epstein allowed two runs in the first inning, but responded with 10 strikeouts over seven innings to lead Walt Whitman to an 8-2 playoff win William Floyd on Monday.
“You always know what you’re getting with her. She’s consistent, her pitches work and she’s smart on the mound,” head coach Ralph Miranda said of his senior pitcher after the game. “A little blemish early… but then she was lights out.”
The Wildcats’ batters also responded after the top half of the first inning. They rallied to score three runs and take a lead they would not relinquish.
“We’ve been down a bunch of times this season… and we came out today to fight,” Miranda said.
Seventh-seeded Whitman was led by senior second baseman Melissa Triolo, who knocked in a pair of runs, and scored two runs of her own, as part of a 2-for-4 day from the plate. Nicole Algierie, a sophomore, also drove in two runs and went 2-for-4.
Epstein secured her 13th win of the season.
With the win, Whitman secured a second-round matchup against no. 15 West Islip, which upset the Suffolk Class AA tournament’s two seed, Connetquot, on Monday.
The Wildcats (15-5) defeated West Islip, 8-2.
Epstein was, again, lights out in the win. She struck out 11 while allowing six hits in the complete game performance. She also went 2-for-3 from the plate , driving in four runs and scoring two of her own.
Miranda added that the Wildcats got "great defense by Lauren Civello, Melissa Triolo, and Noelle Bryggman to keep West Islip off the bases."
Looking at the playoff bracket as a whole, Miranda said on Monday that the field is wide open.
“There’s no real clear winner in the county. Everyone has a really good team,” he said. “There’s no underestimating anyone… so we have to come out with the same intensity that we did today.”
Whitman will next travel to Deer Park High School to might the third-seeded Falcons for the county's winner's bracket semifinals. First pitch is scheduled for Saturday, 12 noon.
Editor's note: This story was updated with additional information at 11 a.m., May 18