By Stephen Zitolo
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Archbishop Molloy. It nearly became a championship season before falling two wins shy of a return trip to the final. “We struggled to start the year,” Molloy Coach Brad Lyons said. “But any time you make it to the final four in this league you’ve had a good year.”
The seventh-seeded Stanners’ bats couldn’t figure out Farrell sophomore starter Vincent Zappulla, as he pitched a complete game and led No. 8 Farrell to a 5-2 victory in the loser’s bracket of the CHSAA Class AA championship tournament at Fordham University June 8.
“He did a good job of mixing it up with his curveball and keeping the ball down,” Lyons said. “We got a couple of hits, but we couldn’t string them together.”
Molloy had its chances to put runs on the board, leaving eight runners on base. Two runners were left on in both the third and sixth and Molloy only managed one total run in those frames.
The Stanners had their best opportunity to rally in the seventh. Molloy loaded the bases with two outs on two hit-by-pitches, a walk and an error. Everything was going their way, but Farrell’s Zappulla found a way to work out of his third jam of the game to close out the win.
Farrell, on the other hand, was able to capitalize on the opportunities that they got throughout the game. The Lions’ aggression on the base paths consistently put pressure on the Molloy defense and pitchers as they stole five bases, three of which were by sophomore Hayden Gumb.
In the fourth inning, sophomore Ruben Jimenez gave up two of his three runs. He pitched four innings in all, giving up three hits. In the fifth inning, Molloy brought in Vasilis Hatzinikolaou in relief. He struggled in his first inning of work, giving up two runs, but settled down in the game’s final two innings and held Farrell scoreless.
Even though Molloy’s season ended Monday night, they know they are in great shape for next season as all but two players from this year’s roster return. Senior ace Scott Hannon will cherish his memories in Briarwood.
“My favorite memory was playing for coach [Jack] Curran freshman year and the fact that every year this team fought to the very end.” Hannon said.