It was a typical game day for Connetquot Lady Thunderbirds varsity softball captain Marissa D'Arcangelis on May 5. Clad in her black and red uniform with her hair tied in a big, curly ponytail, she stood in a huddle with the umpire and the opposing team captains from Ward Melville -- a standard pregame ritual before any home game.
Her boyfriend, fellow Connetquot senior Andrew Serra, had told her he couldn't make the game that day because he had to work -- she was disappointed since usually he'd be in the stands cheering her on. But little did she know that he was actually standing nervously underneath the bleachers, a bouquet of flowers in hand, waiting for his chance to step up to the plate for a swing at a very daring -- and very public -- promposal.
"We have been friends since eighth grade, and even before we started dating we always sort of knew that we would end up going to prom together," Serra said. "I just wanted everything to be perfect."
While D'Arcangelis talked with the umpire, her teammates unfurled a large banner that read, "Marissa, will you go to prom with me?" across the front.
All of a sudden, "Crash My Party," a song by country musician Luke Bryan, began to play. D'Arcangelis was confused -- why was her relationship song with Serra playing at her softball game? She turned around to see Serra standing on the field and gasped with surprise.
"My immediate reaction was to cover my face and to close my eyes," D'Arcangelis said. "I was just so shocked, so nervous."
In a blur, D'Arcangelis ran over to Serra and kissed him -- her way of saying yes -- as the crowd began to cheer.
"Just the look on her face, and I knew it was all worth it," Serra said. "The opportunity to make someone's day, especially someone you care about so much, is a great feeling."
Serra worked closely with Lady Thunderbirds coach Ross Castaldo to make the promposal a home run -- from choosing the right time to tipping off the other team and the umpires about distracting D'Arcangelis at the beginning of the game. Castaldo, who also teaches electives at Connetqout, was happy to help.
"When Serra came to me with the idea, I said to him, 'If you do it, you gotta do it big,'" Castaldo said. "It was hard keeping the secret for the weeks we were setting it up."
D'Arcangelis has played softball for Connetquot throughout high school, and Castaldo named her team captain at the beginning of her senior year. He also taught Serra in one of his elective classes, making him familiar with the couple.
"You honestly could not have a better couple to do something like this for," Castaldo said. "They're both great kids."
D'Arcangelis and Serra met in eighth grade and became fast friends throughout high school. But at the beginning of senior year, their friendship blossomed into romance. The two started dating in August 2014 and celebrated their first official date as a couple at a Luke Bryan concert at Madison Square Garden last September.
After senior year ends, D'Arcangelis plans to attend Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, while Serra plans to attend Farmingdale State College to study to be a Suffolk County police officer. Though there will be distance, the couple plans on making it work.
"We're the couple that people look at as an example and come to us for advice," Serra said. "There is no doubt in my mind that we will stay together throughout college."
Connetquot High School's prom will be held on June 24.
And, by the way, the Lady Thunderbirds won on promposal day, 5-1.