Historic softball title for Kennedy


Runs came at a premium in the Nassau Class AA softball championship series as Kennedy’s Lia Fong and MacArthur’s Alexandra Livanos were nothing short of terrific in the circle, resulting in three intense games at Farmingdale State College.

Fong, a transfer from St. Anthony’s, decided to play her senior year for her hometown school and helped the Cougars make history Tuesday evening. She scattered six hits and struck out five as Kennedy secured its first-ever county title with a 4-1 victory.

“I knew before the season started what a special group of girls we had,” Kennedy ninth-year coach Krista Thorn said. “They worked hard every single day and were in this together. They wanted to make history in the worst way.”

After the teams traded runs in the third inning, with Fong and MacArthur’s Savannah Brennan getting RBIs, the Cougars took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of runs. Fong’s perfectly executed squeeze bunt scored Kayla Indich to make it 2-1, then Bella Parzych drove in Fong for insurance.

“We wanted to make the most of this chance to make history,” Kennedy senior Riley Thayer said. “I don’t even know how to describe how it feels. We’re such a close-knit team and it’s really amazing.”

The Cougars will face West Islip Friday at 5 p.m. at Martha Avenue Recreation Park in Bellport for the Long Island Class AA title.

In last Saturday’s best-of-three county final series opener, a 3-2 Kennedy win, Fong helped her own cause immediately with a two-run double in the bottom of the first as the second-seeded Cougars (14-10) jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Fong scored the eventual winning run on a split-second decision to bolt for the plate after a throw to second base for a caught-stealing.

Livanos, a freshman, struck out seven in Game 1 and allowed only four baserunners over the last six innings. She carried that momentum into Sunday’s Game 2 with the Generals (9-17) facing elimination and recorded a bunch of clutch outs with runners in scoring position in a 2-1 victory.

Kennedy left runners on the corners in the top of the second and loaded the bases with nobody out in the third. But Livanos limited the damage, allowing just one run. She got a popout to the circle for the second out and somewhat of a fortunate hop to end the inning, with a grounder to the right side hitting the Cougars’ baserunner on her way to second base.

Fong allowed just two hits through four innings in Game 2 before fourth-seeded MacArthur’s offense came alive in the fifth. Junior Angelina Pellegrino and sophomore Gianna Spaventa both singled and scored as the Generals, who eliminated No. 1 Calhoun in the semifinals, led for the first time in the series. Brennan and junior Hailey Trapani had RBIs.

Kennedy had the tying run on third in the sixth with two outs and drew a leadoff walk in the seventh. A perfectly turned 6-4-3 double play (Gabby Silvestri-to-Nicole Stueckenschneider-to-Julia Hart) erased the baserunner in the seventh. The final out was a routine grounder to Stueckenschneider at second base, setting the stage for Tuesday’s decisive third game.

“We didn’t get too down after losing Sunday,” Kennedy senior Jamie Pellagrino said. “I’m usually not an emotional person. But after we got that last out and clinched, I couldn’t help it.”