Lia Fong of Bellmore JFK, second from right, celebrates with...

Lia Fong of Bellmore JFK, second from right, celebrates with teammates after the final out in the Cougars' 4-1 win over MacArthur in the third and deciding game of the Nassau softball Class AA final at Farmingdale State College on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Credit: James Escher

A year ago, Bellmore JFK softball’s search for its first county title came to an end in a pair of crushing losses to MacArthur, falling by 12 and 14 runs in the semifinals.

Now, 369 days later, Bellmore JFK faced elimination, yet again with MacArthur in its path. Only this time, the Cougars came with their claws sharpened.

No. 2 Bellmore JFK won its first Nassau Class AA title in program history Tuesday afternoon, topping No. 4 MacArthur, 4-1, in the deciding third game of their championship series at Farmingdale State.

Senior Lia Fong joined Bellmore JFK for her senior season in search of winning a championship with childhood friends after spending her first three seasons at St. Anthony’s. After going 2-for-3 with two RBIs on Tuesday — and pitching her third complete game since Saturday — it’s fair to say Fong earned her championship medal.

“I feel really great, especially to be the first team in the program’s history [to win the title],” Fong said.

Bellmore JFK (13-10) will face West Islip (20-5) in the Class AA Long Island championship game Sunday at Martha Avenue Recreation Park in Bellport.

Fong struck out six and allowed five hits, only two after the third inning. She also powered a pitch to deep right-centerfield for an RBI double that drove in Kayla Indich in the third inning, tying the score at 1.

“You settle up easy [when Fong is at the plate],” Bellmore JFK coach Krista Thorn said. “You relax, you have all the confidence in the world.”

The senior drove in Indich again with a single in the fifth inning to break the 1-1 tie before scoring on an error later in the inning to give Bellmore JFK a 3-1 lead.

Indich added an RBI single in the seventh that drove in Cecelia Toto. Indich went 1-for-1 with a walk and reached base twice on errors.

The title has been a long time coming for Thorn, who has overseen Bellmore JFK softball for nine years.

“It was worth the wait,” said Thorn. “It’s such a beautiful thing . . . I’m so proud of them.”

It was a sentiment shared by senior third baseman Olivia Toto, whose nice play on a pop-up ended the sixth.

“To look at where I was as a freshman to now is absolutely astounding,” Toto said. “To be working with the same girls, it’s such a beautiful experience.”


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