Katie Fitzsimmons leads MacArthur to win over East Meadow
With two outs and Katie Fitzsimmons in an 0-and-2 hole, the earlier decision to walk MacArthur superstar Jena Cozza seemed wise.
Well, Fitzsimmons was thinking the opposite. . . Rather, the opposite way.
"I saw it was an outside pitch," the senior said of her sixth-inning at-bat, "so I knew to take it to the opposite field."
She laced an outside fastball to right for a two-run single, giving MacArthur the lead as it rallied to beat top-seeded East Meadow, 9-6, Tuesday in Game 2 of the Nassau Class AA softball finals.
For the third time in four years, these rivals will square off for the title in a deciding third game -- Thursday, 4 p.m. at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
"Katie came up clutch and it was awesome," said Cozza, who was 1-for-1 with two walks and an RBI. “Not just for today, but it'll make teams think twice about walking me."
The Jets used a four-run sixth to take a 5-2 lead -- keyed by Madison West's two-run homer -- but the Generals charged back with seven runs in the bottom of the inning.
Ashley Massoni's two-run single pulled No. 2 MacArthur within 5-4 and, two batters later, the four-pitch walk to Cozza loaded the bases for Fitzsimmons. Her hit made it 6-5.
"It's never over for us," Fitzsimmons said of her team, the defending Long Island champs, facing elimination on Tuesday. "It's always a battle with East Meadow and we've done it before, so we remain confident."
Kristin Daly followed with an RBI single and Kristen Arbiter's two-run single gave the Generals (15-11) a four-run lead.
West was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and Kerri Shapiro went 2-for-4 for East Meadow (15-8).
The Jets loaded the bases and scored a run in the seventh with the aid of two errors, but second baseman Krissy Gay and Cozza turned a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
"We love turning the plays up the middle and I kind of had a feeling we would get a ball that would let us do that," said Cozza, who made two spectacular diving plays in the fourth and fifth innings. "Our team is great at taking advantage of our opportunities."
In the field and, certainly, at the plate.