It was only fitting that the most senior member of East Meadow's senior class kicked things off.
Danielle Cutuli, in her sixth season on varsity, homered in the first inning to ignite the Jets as top-seeded East Meadow beat No. 2 MacArthur, 12-1, in Game 3 to win the Class AA county title at Mitchel Athletic Complex Thursday.
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"Personally, it's very important," said Cutuli, who missed a majority of last season with a back injury. "But as a whole team, I know we are very ecstatic about it. It's such a great feeling to work so hard for this. We finally did it."
Kerri Shapiro allowed only one hit and an unearned run to MacArthur, the defending county champion. She struck out 10 and walked six to lead East Meadow -- which had lost in the finals in each of the previous two seasons -- back to county supremacy for the first time since 2010.
"It feels amazing," said Shapiro, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI. "We finally won it and I'm so glad we did it this year. My seniors, I've been here with them for so long and I wanted to win it for them so badly."
Cutuli's home run, a liner down the leftfield line, sparked a five-run first inning for East Meadow. Two batters later, Madison West hit an identical liner down the line for a two-run homer. Dina La Rosa doubled and scored on a wild pitch. Tiana La Rosa, Dina's younger sister, then singled home Claire Travis, who had reached on a bunt single, to make it 5-0.
"When you've always been so close, it's really great to finally have it happen," West said. "All we thought about was how it was our seniors' last year and we wanted to do it for them."
"This means the world," said Cutuli, who went 3-for-4. "Every girl worked their butt off to get this win and to get this championship. It means so much to me and the other seniors. To everyone, it means so much."