NANUET – Even with the rain still drizzling down upon Heroes Field at the Nanuet Little League complex, North Rockland head coach Jackie DiNuzzo did not use the weather as a mask to hide her emotions following an 11-0 win over Nanuet.
DiNuzzo and her four co-captains had been presented with a commemorative plaque for winning the fifth annual Tara Csernecky-McCoy Memorial Softball game just moments earlier, and Csernecky’s family was there to personally deliver it after driving up from the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
North Rockland senior pitcher Kayla McDermott, one of the team’s four co-captains, shut down a red-hot Golden Knights lineup, holding them to two hits in the shutout performance. Nanuet had racked up 48 hits in its previous three games.
“I was actually emotional out there because Mrs. Csernecky said Tara had a passion for the sport, she loved the sport, and that our girls played a great game in memory of her,” said DiNuzzo, who played in adult softball leagues with her fellow North Rockland alumna before Csernecky passed away at the age of 40 four-plus years ago.
Golden Knights senior Alana Prosapio’s triple in the seventh inning was the highlight of the team’s offense for the night. The standout shortstop is one hit shy of the 100-hit plateau.
The Red Raiders (10-0) broke the game open in the top of the fourth, scoring seven runs to pull away from Nanuet. Both teams had to wait through a 20-minute rain delay in the third inning, with North Rockland leading 2-0.
Rather than sulk in the inclement weather under the lights, both teams kept their limbs loose with impromptu dance parties. Several Nanuet players did the running man to the 1996 throwback jam “My Boo” by the Ghost Town DJs, following a trend that has caught fire online since the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament in March.
Both teams were back to business when play resumed, but that’s when McDermott settled in and cruised through the remainder of the game, this time with overwhelming run support.
“I’ve heard a lot about Tara, and how she did a lot in college, so I’m just honored to play (in) this memorial,” said Red Raiders senior center fielder and co-captain Amanda Schweitzer, a four-year varsity player.
North Rockland leads the series with Nanuet 3-2 in the annual game.
Nanuet head coach Tony Toronto, who ran the North Rockland program for 22 years and coached Csernecky, originally pitched the idea of a memorial game to DiNuzzo. Both coaches brought it to their athletic directors, Frank “Chick” Mazucca and Joe Casarella, respectively.
Both Mazucca and Casarella green-lit the idea without hesitation, and a tradition was born.