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Brown gets plenty of help for MacArthur

MacArthur pitcher #2 Kristen Brown slides home safely

MacArthur pitcher #2 Kristen Brown slides home safely to give her team a 1-0 lead over East Meadow in the bottom of the first inning of Game 3 of the Nassau softball Class AA final. (May 26, 2012) Credit: James Escher

It was somewhat fitting that Kristen Brown spent a restless night staring at the clock. Her time was coming.

"I kept waking up every single hour," she said, "just waiting for the game."

Brown and MacArthur had been denied a county title by East Meadow in each of the previous two seasons, losing in the county finals in 2010 and in the semifinals last season.

This time, it was different.

Brown tossed a five-hitter and the Generals' balanced offense exploded for 12 hits as No. 1 MacArthur beat No. 2 East Meadow, 13-2, in the deciding Game 3 to win the Nassau Class AA championship Saturday at Mitchel Athletic Complex.

"We knew right from the beginning that this was the year and we did it," said Brown, a senior who is bound for the University of North Carolina. "It was our time to win. So we're going to the Long Island championship and we're going to win that, too."

Brown allowed two walks and two runs and had 10 strikeouts. At the plate, Brown, who has 14 home runs this season, often faced a unique shift that dropped the second baseman into right-centerfield, giving East Meadow four outfielders to combat her power. She still went 2-for-3 with two walks, two RBIs and three runs and also received plenty of run support from her teammates.

Kristen Arbiter, who went 2-for-3, opened the scoring in the first inning with an RBI single to shallow right-center. Briana Lombardo followed with a double just inside the rightfield line to drive in two runs and make it 3-0.

"To get to this point and be able to win it is just an amazing feeling," Arbiter said. "I can't even describe it."

Emily Lyons went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Kirsten Kelley was 2-for-4 with two runs and Kristin Daly had an RBI single.

Jena Cozza, who played despite an injured left ankle suffered in Game 2, went 2-for-5 with two RBIs, including an RBI single in the second to make it 4-0.

Kerri Shapiro and Madison West drove in back-to-back runs in the third for East Meadow (13-9) to cut the deficit to 5-2 before MacArthur blew it open with a five-run fourth inning. The Jets fell in the county final for the second straight season but could be the favorite next year with its core of Shapiro, West, Marisa San Antonio, Dina LaRosa, Taylor Conti and Danielle Cutuli returning.

"We tried our hardest," said second baseman Jenna Dragoon, the lone senior on the team. "I think the potential is great next year. This team was unbelievable and they will only get better from here."

MacArthur (20-4), which last won the title in 2004, advances to face the winner of East Islip and Longwood for the Long Island championship on June 5 at Mitchel.

"This year just felt different from the beginning," Cozza said. "We knew deep down that this was going to be our season and we weren't going to stop until we got what we wanted."

That time has come.

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