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MacArthur battling for top spot

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Despite winning Long Island championships in two of the past three seasons, and winning more games than any softball team on Long Island during that period, few softball teams had more uncertainty than MacArthur at the onset of 2019.

The team lost lost nine seniors including six starters, so growing pains were expected. But, the young Lady Generals have persevered. After its May 2 9-1 road victory over Bethpage, MacArthur improved its record to 12-2 overall (11-1 in Nassau Conference AB-1.)

Freshman pitcher Jessica Mauro went the distance, striking out 11 while walking just one, and was 4-for-5 at the plate. Senior catcher Lisa Fabig was 3-for-5 and scored a pair of runs, and sophomore Gabby Boccio knocked in three runs as the Lady Generals won their seventh consecutive game and 11th of their past 12. They are tied with Mepham for the conference lead, but the Pirates currently own the tiebreaker.

Long-time MacArthur coach Bobby Fehrenbach is happy with the team’s progress. “The pitching and defense have been very good,” Fehrenbach said. “When you have those two things working for you, you’re going to be in good shape. We knew we’d have a lot of new faces and it would take time to figure things out. The young kids have stepped up. They’ve been as good as advertised.”

Mauro, who pitched at the middle school level as an eighth-grader, has plenty of talent, but her calm demeanor has been equally impressive. She’s averaging double-digit strikeouts, and had a career-high 16 in a victory over South Side, and 15 while tossing a one-hitter against Clarke.

“Jessica just goes out and pitches her game,” Fehrenbach said. “It’s a whole different situation this year with a 14-year old in the circle. But, nothing seems to bother her. She’s unfazed.”

Fabig, who played center field and third base over the past three seasons, has been impressive behind the plate. Filling the shoes of Ashley Budrewicz, a second-team All-Long Island catcher, was a tall order, but Fabig has been terrific. The team’s cleanup hitter is batting over .400 and smacked a grand slam in a 12-0 victory at Division.

Opponents are having a tough time dealing with the depth of MacArthur’s batting order. There are no weaknesses from top to bottom. In a 14-4 home win against Bellmore JFK, senior Annie Zielinski went 5-for-5 with three RBI and junior Kayla Myles was 3-for-5 with six RBI to lead the charge. Eighth-grader Taylor Brunn was 4-for-5 with a double.

Fehrenbach likes the position his team is in as it near the playoffs. “We’re one win away from being undefeated in the top conference,” Fehrenbach said. “Playing in an ability-based format means we’re automatically a playoff team, so we’re really playing for pecking order. We just need to continue to execute and avoid mental mistakes. Errors are going to happen, but we have to keep them to a minimum.”

The Lady Generals close out the league schedule when they welcome in Seaford on Friday afternoon at 4:45.