By Joseph Staszewski
Pushing St. Joseph by the Sea would have to do for Archbishop Molloy despite having the Vikings on the ropes in the CHSAA state softball final.
The Stanners rallied in the seventh inning against Sea ace Amanda Barrese, but she shut the door. The dominant senior got Julia Lipovac to ground out to shortstop with the tying run at second and the winning run at first. The Vikings held on for a 3-2 win at SUNY Old Westbury June 1.
The game was delayed nearly an hour in the fourth because of lighting and rain.
“Everyone was all crazy,” third baseman Melissa Kump said. “We just kept saying, ‘We got this.’ We were all just excited. … After I got my hit I thought Julia had it right there.”
Her two-out RBI single scored Sabina DiLorenzo, who led off the inning with a double, to pull the Stanners within 3-2. Jen DeMaria singled prior to keep the inning alive. Molloy was also within 2-1 in the fifth when starter Victoria Goldbach drove in first baseman Dana Moss. Sea, however, added a run in the sixth on a two-out single from Kristina Mazzarisi.
“I was just looking for one more hit,” Molloy Coach Maureen Rosenbaum said.
The Vikings (21-0) beat her team 4-3 in last year’s state semifinal and run-ruled them twice during the season, including an 8-0 loss in six innings for the CHSAA city title. What made this game different was the superb pitching of Goldbach, who was backed by stellar defense.
The Stanners (16-3) turned three double plays, including ones of the 6-5-3 and 9-9-5 variety as Patricia Kelly gunned down a runner tagging from third base. In the fifth, though, Moss threw a ball high into centerfield on a Jackie Bonamassa bunt attempt that allowed two runs to score.
“You have to make the plays,” Rosenbaum said. “You can’t have errors. You have to play close to perfect to beat a team like this. One or two errors is what did it.”
It was Goldbach who gave her team a chance to prevail. The ever-improving sophomore allowed just two runs in a 7-2 win over St. Mary’s of Lancaster (Buffalo) in the semifinals and scattered just five hits and one earned run against the Vikings.
She became Molloy’s most reliable pitcher late in the season with Maria Palmeri struggling. Additionally, putting Palmeri’s glove in the field strengthened the defense for Molloy, which won its second straight Brooklyn/Queens title. Goldbach’s RBI single in the fifth got her team on the board against Sea.
“I just go out there just thinking release point, throw my pitches, not thinking about strikes,” Goldbach said. “Strikes will come.”
Added Sea Coach Mike Ponsiglione: “She pitched a great game. She kept them in the game. She pitched two games today. She left her heart out on the field.”
In the first game, her team gave her plenty of run support, leading 4-0 going into the top of the sixth, before a lighting delay. Jackie Perillo’s bases-clearing triple in the seventh capped a three-hit, five-RBI game to extend the lead to 7-0. It earned the Stanners another shot at Sea.
“I’m very proud of them,” Rosenbaum said. “They mercied us during the season. We just wanted to give them a respectful game. We really believed in ourselves today.”