Mepham’s Alanna Morse is a do-as-I-say and watch-what-I-can-do sort of player.
"We like to come out strong," she said, "and put the other team away early."
Morse’s RBI double ignited a four-run first inning. She later punctuated her efforts with a 250-foot homer to straightaway centerfield to lead No. 2 Mepham to a 6-1 win against No. 4 MacArthur in Game 1 of the best-of-three Nassau A final series on Monday.
Mepham (15-4) travels to MacArthur (7-11) for Game 2 at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. A Pirates win will give them their second straight Nassau crown.
"We go into every game like we’re playing a nameless, faceless opponent," said Morse, who was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. "We try to come out and play the best game we’re ever going to play."
It’s debatable if it was Mepham’s best game of the season, but it certainly was more than enough in a pressure-packed opening game of the championship series.
After a one-out walk and a stolen base by freshman Isabela Cruz in the bottom of the first inning, Morse smashed the second pitch she saw into the gap in right-centerfield for a double that give Mepham a 1-0 lead.
Hailey Guerrero walked, followed by a ground out for the second out, which put runners on second and third.
Then, a bunt by Sera Muoio allowed Morse to slide home for the second run on a bang-bang play at the plate. After a wild pitch put runners on second and third, Gianna LaSpina delivered a key two-run single to put the Pirates ahead at 4-0.
MacArthur scored in the third off starter Kayleigh Roth when Generals pitcher Taylor Brunn’s double brought home Presley Borne, who singled with one out.
Mepham would add a run in the fifth on Morse’s homer and an unearned run in the sixth.
The Generals mustered two hits against Roth (who pitched the first three innings). Pirates freshman Giselle DeLutri, who walked three but only allowed one hit in the final four innings, earned the win.
"I don’t mind coming in for relief," DeLutri said. "I’ll do anything I can to help the team."
A team that is one win away from its second straight A crown. (Mepham won in 2019. There was no season in 2020 because of COVID-19.)
"We play together as a family," said the Hofstra-commit Morse, who has at least one RBI in every game this season according to coach Brenda Dolan. "We treat every game like it’s our last."