MacArthur works to defend crown


Fresh off the MacArthur softball program's first county title since 2017, the Generals are seeking a repeat of that championship feeling with a different style of team.

The 2023 MacArthur team that entered the Class A finals unbeaten before knocking off Clarke in a three game series was led largely by All State pitcher Taylor Brunn, who is now competing on the collegiate level Ithaca College. The loss of one of MacArthur’s all-time great arms will mean the Generals bats will play an increased role this spring in the quest to return to the championship stage. 

“We don’t have the same kids as last year but we still have some good pieces back and it's just a different mindset as far having to hit and score and make the plays,” said 24th-year MacArthur coach Bobby Fehrenbach. “Last year when we got a 4-0 lead with the team that we had it was a pretty good bet we were going to win the game.”

The MacArthur offense has shown early on it can erupt at any moment such as a 12-11 win at Mepham on May 25 in which the Generals scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning after trailing by four. Angela Pellegrino’s RBI single scored Hailey Trapani with the go-ahead run followed by a two-run single from Gabby Silvestri.

Trapani, a junior right fielder, is the anchor of the MacArthur offense after a breakout 2023 season in which she earned All-State honors with a .440 batting average and five home runs. Sophomore left fielder Gianna Spaventa is the spark plug in the lineup as the leadoff hitter and is coming off an All-County campaign where she hit .385 with 27 runs scored.

Senior Nicole Stueckenschneider is the Generals’ lone returning infielder and is a big piece of the lineup with some power in her swing. Stueckenschneider went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in a season-opening 8-5 win against Glen Cove on March 22. 

Freshman Alexandra Livanos has taken the reins as the starting pitcher after competing at the JV level as an eighth-grader last spring. Livanos struck out six in a complete game five hitter during MacArthur’s 14-2 victory at Long Beach on April 1.

“She's a competitor,” said Fehrenbach of Livanos, who has pitched every inning this season. “Even when its bases are loaded one out or second and third no out she's going to find a way to get it done and there are times this year where we've gotten out of those situations without allowing a run.”

The Generals host Oceanside Thursday at 5 p.m. before visiting East Meadow for a 10 a.m. first pitch. MacArthur entered the week at 1-2 in Conference 1 and 3-2 overall, a stark contrast to how the Generals stormed out of the gate last season.

MacArthur’s conference is largely the same from last year, but for one big change with 2023 Class A runner up Clarke getting substituted for longtime Class AA contender Farmingdale.