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Leah Mele, Jen Corona, Kaitlyn Weil lead Longwood

Longwood's Leah Mele fields the ball against Lindenhurst

Longwood's Leah Mele fields the ball against Lindenhurst in the third inning of a Suffolk softball game on Thursday, March 27, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

You have to pay attention when you're on third base and Leah Mele is at bat. The talented pull hitter from Longwood can make baserunners fidgety over there.

After ripping a few foul balls down the line, Mele straightened out a two-run double to leftfield to key a three-run fifth inning Thursday as Longwood beat Lindenhurst, 8-1, in a Suffolk I softball game.

"It was a little bit scary at third base,'' said winning pitcher Jen Corona, who had to take a perilous lead off third and worried about getting drilled by a line drive. "I just knew I had to get out of the way.''

Corona, who was hit with a line drive at third last week, dodged two liners Thursday. Then Longwood coach Jackie Legnon removed her for pinch runner Alyssa Fuentes.

"She got hit with a line drive against Connetquot and I didn't want her to get hit again," Legnon said. "We have to keep her safe. Mele's swinging a big bat, so I wanted her out of there."

Mele went 3-for-5 with two RBIs for the reigning Suffolk Class AA champions and rightfielder Kaitlyn Weil had two RBIs for the Lions (2-1). It was a good win for a Longwood team that lost to Connetquot, 5-4, in the season opener.

"I would love to be champions again,'' Corona said. "But you're only as good as your last performance, so we're taking it one game at a time.''

Lindenhurst (0-3) managed only four hits against Corona, who pitched a complete game, striking out six and walking two. With the game scoreless in the second inning, Corona escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam by getting a flyout, a groundout and a strikeout.

"She's done a good job so far,'' Legnon said. "I feel confident with her decisions.

"The kids do a great job motivating themselves. It's a good win."

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