Before each inning, the East Meadow infielders gather around Kerri Shapiro in the circle for a therapy session.
They breathe in, they breathe out. They clear their minds.
"All I did last year was think, think, think,'' Shapiro said. "So now we all take two deep breaths at the same exact time and stop overthinking. It reassures us that we're all relaxed.''
Shapiro pitched with a clear mind Monday, allowing five hits and striking out 12 while leading top-seeded East Meadow to an 8-2 win over No. 2 MacArthur in Game 1 of the best-of-three Class AA Nassau softball championship at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
Madison West put the Jets on the board with a two-run double in the bottom of the first.
Shapiro tripled in the third to drive in Danielle Cutuli, who went 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Claire Travis went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including a two-run homer to left that made it 5-1 in the third. Her mind-set came as no surprise.
"I wasn't really thinking about anything,'' she said. "I just wanted to help the team and contribute to the win.''
Jena Cozza, who went 2-for-3, gave MacArthur a 1-0 lead in the first with a home run to the gap in left-centerfield. Ashley Massoni added an RBI single in the seventh.
East Meadow looks to capture the title in Game 2 at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Mitchel.
"Yesterday doesn't matter and today is a new day,'' Cutuli said. "We need to clear our heads and play our game.''
Breathe in, breathe out.