Welcome home, Sarah Cornell.
It was the softball equivalent of barging through the front door, grabbing something out of the fridge and kicking up her feet on the couch. The field at Hofstra may not be her home quite yet, but it certainly looked as if she owned the place on Thursday.
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Playing on her future home field, Cornell tossed a three-hitter, hit a tiebreaking three-run home run and drove in four runs in No. 2 Clarke's 6-1 win over top-seeded Carey in Game 1 of the Nassau Class A finals.
"Sarah's really excited to be playing at her home," Clarke coach Rachel Barry said. "But she's still got one more year left, so we're not rushing her out."
And now the junior pitcher is one win away from bringing home Clarke's first county title since 2007.
Clarke's Selena Ruiz singled to drive in Victoria Sferrazza and tie the score at 1 in the fifth. Cornell then launched a three-run homer to left-center for a 4-1 lead.
Said Kirstin Cox, "After she got the home run, we were like, 'Sarah, you hit a home run on your home field and you haven't even gotten here yet!' "
Jenna Turato allowed four earned runs, eight hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts for Carey (20-3). Cox went 2-for-3 and Ruiz was 2-for-4 for Clarke (20-2).
"We can't lay back because we won," Ruiz said of Game 2, which will be played at 6 p.m. on Friday at Hofstra. "We have to keep pushing forward and win it all."
Cornell, whose RBI single in the seventh increased the lead to 5-1, allowed an unearned run, three hits and two walks in seven innings, striking out 12. "It was like being on our field at Clarke," she said. "It just kind of felt comforting."
And she made herself right at home.
Oceanside 13, MacArthur 1: Last season, Sabrina Seeger was . . .
"Basically doing nothing," she said.
But this season, she is . . .
"In the middle of it all," she said after leading No. 2 Oceanside to a win over top-seeded MacArthur in Game 1 of the Nassau Class AA softball finals.
The sophomore went 2-for-5 with five RBIs and allowed a run, seven hits and two walks in seven innings. Her two-run double in the fifth gave Oceanside a 5-1 lead.
Megan McNamara went 3-for-5, Alyssa Hernandez was 3-for-4 and Taylor Eisel drove in three runs.
Game 2 is at 3 p.m. Friday at Hofstra.
"To pitch a good game and drive in some runs for my team," Seeger said, "it feels great to contribute."