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Lombardo, MacArthur will miss prom for shot at title

MacArthur left fielder Briana Lombardo hits an RBI

MacArthur left fielder Briana Lombardo hits an RBI single to extend her team's lead over East Islip to 4-1 in the bottom of the first inning. (June 5, 2012) Credit: James Escher

Briana Lombardo was so confident the Generals were going to the state tournament, she didn't even bother to buy a prom dress.

"The only way I'd miss prom," she said, "would be to play with this team."

Weekend plans changed for the four seniors on the MacArthur softball team. They'll be trading in their gowns for uniforms, their shoes for cleats and their makeup for eye black. Instead of heading to their senior prom Saturday, they'll be playing for a state championship in Queensbury.

MacArthur scored in every inning and cranked out 22 hits in a 16-2 win over East Islip in the Class AA Long Island championship Tuesday at Mitchel Athletic Complex. It was the school's second LIC and first since 1988.

Kristen Brown went 4-for-4 with three RBIs, including a leadoff home run to straightaway center to make it 5-1 in the second despite four outfielders playing her deep. She also tossed a complete game, allowing seven hits with five strikeouts, and said she'll gladly miss the prom for softball despite just getting her dress hemmed.

Emily Lyons, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, said her prom date will be joining her upstate in hopes of seeing the Generals make history by winning its first state title.

"We've waited four years for this," she said. "This was our dream."

Each starter had at least one hit. Lombardo went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Jena Cozza went 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Kaitlyn Fitzsimmons went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Sophomore Kristen Arbiter went 4-for-4 with four runs and three RBIs, including a two-run single to give MacArthur a 3-1 lead in the first inning.

"This was one of our goals," Arbiter said, "and we finally got to accomplish it and go to states."

The loss brought an end to the most successful season in program history for East Islip (21-6), which took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Courtney Blake that drove in Alyssa Groneman. The Redmen beat the top two seeds in Suffolk en route to their first county title.

"We had a great season," Blake said. "It just wasn't our day."

MacArthur (21-4) will play Fairport or Clarence in the state semifinals at 10 a.m. Saturday. Should the Generals win, they will advance to the title game at 3 p.m.

While their MacArthur classmates are 225 miles away preparing for the big dance, Brown and her teammates will be hoping to win softball's big dance.

"I got my dress, my shoes, everything, and I don't care because I'm going to states and we're going to win it," Brown said. "I just have to go hug my date and say, 'I'm so sorry, but I can't go.' "

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