Kerri Shapiro leads East Meadow to Long Island Class AA softball title

East Meadow pitcher Kerri Shapiro delivers against Half East Meadow pitcher Kerri Shapiro delivers against Half Hollow Hills West in the Long Island Class AA softball final on Friday, June 6, 2014. East Meadow won 3-2. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

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Kerri Shapiro is going on a birthday shopping spree this weekend. But cash or credit couldn't buy her the gifts she wanted most: A Long Island championship and a trip upstate. She got those Friday.

"I think this is the best gift anyone could ever ask for," she said after leading East Meadow to a 3-2 win over Half Hollow Hills West on her 18th birthday, giving the Jets a second straight Long Island Class AA title.

Shapiro, who allowed five hits and four walks with seven strikeouts, induced a grounder to short with the tying run on second for the final out, sealing a trip to the state tournament in Queensbury next Saturday.

"It's an honor to be in a town where we have so much talent on one team and all work so hard," senior catcher Madison West said. "I feel so lucky."

Claire Travis got under a curveball and hit a towering solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to increase East Meadow's lead to 3-0.

Francesca Casalino allowed five hits and one walk, striking out 11. Nicole Graber hit a two-out, two-run double to left in the top of the seventh to pull Hills West within 3-2.

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"Being able to go as far as we did," Casalino said, "meant the world to me."

Shapiro gave the Jets a 2-0 lead in the third with a two-run double to deep centerfield.

After the win, Shapiro's teammates surrounded her by home plate and sang "Happy Birthday.'' Now they hope to help her get another gift on her birthday list.

"A state title," she said. "We are winning it this year."

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