The players on the Clarke softball team passed notes around in school Wednesday.

One teammate would pass the piece of paper off to another as they passed by in the hallway. From Sabrina Caputo to Holly Romeo to Selena Ruiz, and so on.

"Whoever got it would write their name on it," Caputo said. "And the note said, 'Here we come, counties!' ''

Well, here they are, counties! Second-seeded Clarke beat top-seeded Carey, 3-2, in Game 3 of the Nassau Class A finals at Hofstra as the Rams captured their first county title since 2007.

After the game, instead of notes, they were passing around the county championship plaque. From Kirstin Cox to Lauren Reilly to Sarah Cornell, and so on.

"We kept going through every team thinking we were going to win this no matter what," said Cornell, who tossed a four-hitter, allowed two walks, struck out 12, and went 2-for-4. "We kept on going and came out champions."

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The Rams gave Cornell a lead before she even touched the ball. Caputo and Romeo each had RBI singles in the top of the first inning to give the Rams a 2-0 lead.

Mikayla Morfesi's RBI triple in the second pulled Carey within 2-1 in the second. Cox then tripled to center in the fifth and came around to score on a single by Ruiz for what proved to be the winning run as Clarke took a 3-1 lead.

After the game, credit for the county championship was passed around. From Brooke Scherer to Victoria Sferrazza to Emily Widmaier, and so on.

"Everyone on this team contributed today," Cox said. "The last inning, I was walking on air I was so excited."

That last inning fittingly concluded with Cornell getting a called strike three and running toward home plate to embrace her catcher, Ruiz.

"Oh my gosh, I'm a county champ!" said Ruiz, who went 2-for-4. "I wanted to end my senior year on a great note."

Clarke (21-3) moves on to play Mount Sinai in the Long Island championship at 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Joseph's Athletic Complex.

Jenna Turato allowed seven hits, two walks and struck out eight for Carey (21-4).

Cornell, a junior who is bound for Hofstra, hopes this is the first of many titles she will win on that field. "Maybe this will happen again here someday," she said. "Throwing that last strike and dogpiling my team."