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Spring Preview: Softball

Look no further than Bayside High School if you seek a softball team that makes a habit out of winning in Queens.

In 2006, the Commodores went 11-3, tying for first place in the division with Francis Lewis and William C. Bryant. A much better team — Staten Island’s Tottenville — blew them out of the city quarterfinals by the margin of 11-0.

In 2007, they went 16-0, coasting to victories like 22-0 over Beach Channel and 12-0 over John Bowne. They lost to Tottenville, 10-0, in the city quarterfinals (double-elimination, starting that year) before being dropped by Susan Wagner in the consolation bracket.

In 2008, they went 16-0 again, in a season highlighted by a 21-0 victory over Bowne. In the city quarterfinals, and then again in the city finals, they lost to Tottenville by margins of 11-1 and 10-0.

This is not quite, as you can see, Bayside-McKee of the high school soccer rivalry annals. Tottenville is far too dominant to stir the hopes of barrier-breaking Baysiders. But the Commodores are the queens of their local dominion, and why not put their focus there? They do, after all, have a legitimate challenge in the form of Queens rivals Benjamin Cardozo and Francis Lewis, two squads who have finished close behind over the course of the last two years. And they’ll finally be without Nicole Marra, their cannon from the pitching rubber.

Marra, who has since graduated, won all 16 of Bayside’s games in 2008 while posting a 0.94 ERA and a 1.200 slugging percentage at the plate. Senior outfielder Adana Atkinson (.391 average) and senior third baseman Nicole Vitiello (.449 average) will likely be leaned on for leadership this year.

In 2008, Lewis mounted an awfully fair fight near the end of the season, pushing Bayside to extra innings and eventually conceding five runs in the second added period. Earlier in the year, they had scored a run in the final frame to narrow a Commodore lead to 2-1. They haven’t crossed the finish line yet, but they’re getting close.

Cardozo seems better suited to steal the crown this time around. The Lady Judges lost third baseman Christine Brewer (.396 average) to graduation, but they have on their side the power of senior catcher Angelamari Saint, who maintained a slugging average of .651 last year.

Lewis, meanwhile, is banking on senior first baseman Constantin DeLuca (.633 slugging) to help compensate for a trio of departed stars in Karina Diaz, Angelica Farrell, and Amanda Kesner, all of whom put up gaudy offensive numbers. Most impressive were Farrell’s hard-to-believe splits of .600/.672/1.200; she had nearly three times as many home runs (eight) as strikeouts (three).

In the Catholic league, a budding rivalry between St. Francis Prep and Archbishop Molloy is sure to offer excitement. The Terriers and the Stanners finished 1-2 last season, and they treated the Diocese to a stunning title series when St. Francis overcame a Game One loss to Molloy and won the decisive Game Three by 7-6. Queens is actually in a separate division from Brooklyn during the regular season of CHSAA softball, but both squads earned a spot in the championship after topping Brooklyn’s best in the semifinals.

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