Nowak, Plainedge blank Floral Park
For someone who doesn't like attention, Kim Nowak certainly has received a lot of it recently.
She's become a media darling the past few days, doing interviews for television and print. That's what happens when you toss postseason shutouts . . . and perfect games.
Nowak followed the perfecto she threw in the quarterfinals with a five-hit shutout, leading No. 2 Plainedge to a 2-0 win over No. 3 Floral Park in the Class A semifinals Thursday at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
"It's been weird actually," Nowak said. "I don't really like all of the attention. But I'm happy that we won and get to advance to the finals."
It was the third straight postseason shutout for Nowak, who walked one and struck out nine. She also drove in both runs, hitting a single down the leftfield line to score Kate Finnen and Taylor Curran in the bottom of the first inning. Dolores Diemicke went 2-for-3 in the win.
Floral Park (13-6) threatened in the top of the third after singles by Natalie Lawrence, Rianna Escobedo and Sam Giovanniello loaded the bases with one out. But Nowak struck out the next batter and induced a grounder to short to end the inning.
The loss brought an end to the brilliant high school career of Giovanniello, who allowed two runs and five hits, walking one and striking out eight. A six-year varsity starter, she became the Knights' ace as a freshman and immediately carried the program to new heights, leading Floral Park to its first state title. One of the premier pitchers on Long Island the past few seasons, Giovanniello will attend Georgetown, where she'll play shortstop.
"I'm ready to pass the torch," Giovanniello said with a laugh. "I'm ready to move on to some D-I competition. I'm definitely excited for it."
Plainedge (14-4) advanced to play top seed Island Trees in the best-of-three county championship series beginning at 4 p.m. on Monday at Mitchel.
"We've been having a really good year defensively and we get the hits when we need them," Nowak said. "We definitely have a great shot at winning a county championship."
If they do, think of the attention she'll get.