It was as if Sarah Cornell was visited by catchers of her past, present and future.
With her former catcher cheering from the stands, her current catcher behind the plate and one of her future Hofstra catchers in attendance, Cornell did what she’s always done: made her catcher’s life easy by hitting her spots and keeping runners off base.
Cornell tossed a two-hitter and struck out 14 as Clarke defeated Mount Sinai, 7-1, on Friday at Hofstra to capture a second straight Long Island Class A softball championship. The Rams advanced to the state tournament on June 11 in Glens Falls, where last season they lost the title game in extra innings.
“Right after we lost at states last year, right from that point, we were motivated to get back,” said Cornell, who walked one and allowed an unearned run. “We definitely have some unfinished business.”
And now they’ll get a chance to finish it.
Kirstin Cox walked to lead off the first, advanced to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on a double by Victoria Sferazza to give Clarke a 1-0 lead. Sabrina Caputo followed with a single to make it 2-0. The Rams tacked on four runs in a sloppy second inning to make it 6-0, helping Clarke (17-3) secure a return trip upstate with a chance to capture the program’s first state title.
“That has been our goal since day one,” said Sferazza, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. “And we hope to achieve it this year.”
“We are super-excited and this year I think we are even more prepared,” added Caputo, who went 2-for-4 with a triple.
Cornell carried a perfect game into the fifth before Kelsey Carr reached on an error and Julia Golino singled for Mount Sinai (22-2). Cornell allowed an RBI single by Hailey Laguidice but escaped a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout to end the inning.
It was a dominant performance that made all three of her catchers proud.
The past: “She’s grown over the years and gotten more confident,” said Selena Ruiz, who was Cornell’s catcher at Clarke for four years and now plays for Oneonta. “And the ball has gotten faster.”
The present: “She always knows what to throw,” said Brooke Scherer, who shifted from first base to catcher for Clarke this season. “When I give her a sign, she hits the spot.”
And the future: “I was very, very impressed,” said Hofstra catcher Christie Sinacori, who was operating the scoreboard for Friday’s game. “She commanded the strike zone. She stayed calm even when runners got into scoring position. She kept her composure, and that’s what we need at the next level. We’re really excited to see what she can do for us.”
Before she does that, though, Cornell is hoping for one more dogpile celebration with her current catcher and teammates.
“I’m in the now,” Cornell said. “This team is even stronger than we were last year. We’re ready to win a state championship.”