MacArthur entered the Nassau Class A softball playoffs nearly flawless in its charge toward seeking a third straight Long Island crown.
The Lady Generals kept the momentum going off their 19-1 regular season with a 2-0 quarterfinal win last Friday against Clarke that set up a best-of-three semifinal series this week against fourth-seeded Mepham. The Lady Generals dominated en route to the Nassau County playoffs with a perfect 13-0 conference mark on the strength of strong pitching and timely hitting.
“We had a great regular season, but anything can happen in the postseason,” MacArthur head coach Bobby Fehrenbach said. “We have to stay focused one day at a time, one inning at a time, one pitch at a time.”
MacArthur gave ace senior pitcher Jess Budrewicz an early lead to work with against Clarke thanks to a two-out first inning RBI single by Annie Zielinski. Kayla Myles provided some insurance with a sacrifice fly in the second inning that scored Jamie Ferris.
Budrewicz kept the Clarke bats at bay with 12 strikeouts in a complete-game one-hitter. She posted 14 wins in the regular season and is a veteran presence on the mound who was instrumental in leading the Generals to the last two Long Island titles with the help of her twin sister Ashley Budrewicz behind the plate.
“Jess is very comfortable in the circle,” said Fehrenbach of his ace, who along with her twin sister are committed to play on the collegiate level at New York Institute of Technology next year. “She doesn’t get rattled.”
In addition to displaying strong leadership at catcher, Ashley Budrewicz has also been a threat on offense with a .540 batting average entering the playoffs. An 11-0 win against New Hyde Park on April 30 was a particularly special day for the Budrewiczs with Jess tossing a no-hitter and Ashley going three-for-four at the plate.
“Ashley is having a phenomenal year,” Fehrenbach said.
The Lady Generals pitching excellence has been complemented by an explosive offense that featured nine games scoring in double digits. Marisa Mauro, Ali Verdi, Victoria Agnoli and Myles are all hitting above .400 for the season. Junior third baseman Lisa Fabig and Zielinski have also been forces at the plate batting in the high 300’s.
“Every game a different player is stepping up for us,” Fehrenbach said. “Everyone in the lineup is coming through.”
MacArthur began its best-of-three semifinal series at home against Mepham on Monday afternoon after press time with games two and three slated for Wednesday and Thursday. The Generals edged Mepham 6-4 in the teams’ regular season meeting on May 3 after rallying from a 4-3 deficit in the sixth inning.
The winner of the MacArthur-Mepham series advances to the Class A county final series starting May 21 at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale against either Carey or Bellmore-JFK. Fehrenbach said having a veteran team that is used to long postseason runs should prove crucial in the drive for a three-peat.
“This group of kids has been around,” he said. “They have a lot of experience.”