GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – Claire Fon, a 2019 graduate of Lakeland High school, hit a homer and was the winning pitcher in a 5-3 win in the Section 1 Class A semifinals against visiting Tappan Zee last spring.
With that performance, she became the first softball player in state history to hit 40 homers and win 40 games in a career.
The contest was her final home game as a Hornet at the district’s administration building field.
“I got to finish where I started,” Fon said. “I played my last game on the same field I started on, when I was in elementary school playing on the Shrub Oak Athletic team. It was a great way to finish out my high-school career.”
This spring, Fon made the adjustment to the Division II college level at Adelphi University, located in Garden City on Long Island.
“Going away to college and being away from home was a big adjustment, but I felt very comfortable going to Adelphi,” Fon said. “I had been on campus a lot because of multiple clinics, and I knew the team was a great group of girls.””
One of those girls, who Fon played travel ball with, was John Jay-East Fishkill’s Ally Muller, a junior.
“I have played and been friends with Ally for many years now,” Fon said. “Both her presence, on and off the field was a great comfort. Ally is a great role model and has been a big help to me in adjusting to college.”
Fon said coming from such a great high-school program like Lakeland, which was a Section 1 Class A finalist last spring and a sectional champion in 2017, and such a prestigious travel-ball team, helped a lot in her adjustment to college softball.
“From my JV year with Coach Macchi, to the five years on varsity with coaches Fallo, Chiara, Fiore, and Shilling was a great help,” Fon said. “In addition, my eight years as an Empire State Huskie, under coaches Rowan, Knopf, and Porcelli, presented me with a high level of playing opportunities outside of the high-school arena. I can’t say enough about both programs and how they helped me develop as a player.”
Highlighting Fon’s freshman season was pitching two frames of scoreless relief with two strikeouts against then No. 1 Augustana.
“The opportunity the Adelphi coaches gave me to play against this team was an honor,” Fon said. “I was excited and nervous to get on the field, but my teammates, and coaches kept me calm. I knew my team had my back.”
In the classroom this past fall, Fon earned the Northeast (NE) 10 Academic Honor Roll-Academic Distinction, and at Lakeland was a National Honor Society member and a four-year, Scholar Athlete.
“At Lakeland and Adelphi, the concept of being a student-athlete was very important—student first, then athlete,” Fon said. “In both programs, academics was very important to the coaches. The Adelphi Athletics’ program prides itself on academics and, of course, our athletic achievements.”
As for the next three years at Adelphi, Fon is excited about the future.
“My goal is the same as the team’s goal: to be the best that I can be on the field and in the classroom,” Fon said. “I am very lucky to be a part of such a great program.”