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Healthy Zeni pitches Molloy past Fontbonne

By Patrick McCormack

The road to recovery was tough for Amanda Zeni, but with a rewarding finish. The Archbishop Molloy senior, who missed most of last season with an injury, is back and gave Fontbonne Hall a taste of how tough she is when healthy.

She pitched a complete game, four-hit shutout to give her team their first league victory of the season with a 4-0 over the Bonnies in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens softball Monday at McGuire Field. Zeni was supposed to be the Stanners’ ace last season and then had to watch as Alexandra Yule stepped in.

“It was kind of tough to come back,” Zeni said. “This season I worked hard to get back and I felt great today.”

Battery mate Victoria Brown also got the job done. The Molloy catcher went 1-for-3 with three RBI to give Zeni more than enough run support. The Stanners got their offensive started in the top of the second. With the bases loaded and no outs, Brown drilled a triple deep to center field off Bonnies’ ace Bianca Marletta. It cleared the bases to give Molloy a 3-0 lead. Brown went up to the plate just trying to help her team get an early lead. The Stanners are the defending regular season champions.

“I just try to hit for the team,” she said. “I am looking to drive the ball, looking for a single, nothing more than to get on base to help the team out.”

That lead was enough for Zeni. She did run into some trouble in the bottom half of the fourth. With one out, Marletta hit a triple to right. Zeni then got the cleanup hitter Ariana Dillon to dribble the ball back to her with Marletta trying to score. Zeni fielded the ball and threw it to Brown to cut her down at the plate.

“Anyone in their order can hit the ball, so you just need to be on top of your game and just pitch where you are told and hit your spots,” she said.

After the Stanners escaped the jam, Allie Klesin hit a pitch hit single to center to give Molloy a 4-0 lead in the top of the fifth.

The Bonnies threaten again in the bottom of the sixth, with runners on first and second and one out. Zeni again remained calm under pressure. First, she forced Dillon to ground out to third and then she struck out Natalie Lacognata to end the inning.

“I’ve grown up learning to worry about the batter, not worry about who is on base and it helps me get through the inning,” said Zeni, who had four strike outs.

Fontbonne Coach Frank Marinello saw his team play well, but make a few mistakes that cost them the game.

“Molloy is a good team,” he said. “They are one of the teams that will compete for the state final. I’ve said it a million times, you can’t blink against good teams. You blink against good teams and you are going to fall behind.”

The Stanners, who had their first game of the season vs. St. Francis Prep postponed because of rain, on the other hand made all the plays needed to pull out a win

“I think it was the first real team win we had this year,” Molloy coach Maureen Rosenbaum said. “They stayed tight, played together and got key hits.”

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