By Laura Amato
Maureen Rosenbaum couldn’t come up with a different word. The Archbishop Molloy softball coach was thrilled – no matter what the scoreboard read.
The Stanners fell 2-1 to St. Anthony’s Tuesday afternoon, coming up short in the CHSAA softball state semifinal. But no one on the Molloy squad could bring themselves to be too disappointed.
After all, just getting to the big game is a pretty big deal.
“I’m thrilled,” Rosenbaum said. “I told them, ‘nobody can take the city championship away from you.’ They played exceptionally well and the coaching staff was surprised. We didn’t really expect us to do as well as we did.”
Molloy jumped out to an early lead, putting the first run on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Chloe Duistiani led off the frame with a single, before stealing second. She crossed home on Aine Stevens’ RBI hit.
“We sporadically have gotten our runs from the top and the bottom of the lineup,” Rosenbaum said. “This particular time, it happened with the bottom. I think they were probably a little cautious with the top of the lineup and the bottom of the lineup answered.”
That was as much as the Stanners would get, however, as the two teams struggled to find much consistency at the plate. Of course, that had plenty to do with Kelsey Carr in the circle for Molloy.
The freshman phenom once again held her own, barely batting an eyelash with the spotlight focused on her. That’s what she’s been doing all season, providing a big-time surprise for the Stanners this spring.
“We had a freshman pitcher coming in and we thought we were going to have some youth pitching,” Rosenbaum said. “We did, but it was more talent with the youth. And we’re a young program, [with] a lot of freshman and sophomores in the program together.”
Carr couldn’t quite hold on late, though, giving up the go-ahead home run to St. Anthony’s in the top of the seventh inning. The Stanners would never recover.
It was a frustrating moment for a squad that had its sights set on a state title.
“To us, it was one bad pitch,” Rosenbaum said. “But to [Kelsey] it was just their number four hitter and it was a good hit. They just got a timely home run.”
The Stanners came up short of their ultimate goal, but Molly focused on the silver lining – the team won a Brooklyn-Queens title and grabbed a shutout victory in the city championship on Sunday.
“The fact that we were so successful was a little bit of a surprise,” Rosenbaum said. “We were coming off a state title two years ago, but last year we weren’t able to repeat and we graduated 11. We thought this would be a little bit of a rebuilding cycle, but our JV [team] did very well this year also, and , all-in-all, we’re very happy with the success.”
Now, the focus for Molloy is simply maintaining its success. The Stanners won’t surprise anyone next year and the key is being able to meet every challenge with the expectations just a bit higher.
“It definitely builds up the confidence, especially with the pitcher being a freshman,” Rosenbaum said. “And our numbers were low. We only had 11 players on the team, so that’s a little bit of a concern, but other than that we have some talent and we hope to be in the fight against next year.”