By Joseph Staszewski

Calling Ellen Sarosy-Kiernan one of the best softball players ever at Mary Louis wouldn’t do justice to her athletic career at the Jamaica Hills high school.

Sarosy-Kiernan was a four-sport standout for the Hilltoppers, excelling in track and field, volleyball and basketball along with softball. She did not play the first two before entering high school, but got into the sports because a friend was also trying out.

The highlight of her high school career remains as a junior when she led TMLA to the 1998 CHSAA softball state title, but it was all of her accomplishments that earned her induction in the GCHSAA Hall of Fame April 30 along with 10 others at Russo’s on the Bay.

“This is about being an all-around athlete,” said Sarosy-Kiernan, who played college softball at Fairfield after graduating from TMLA in 1999. “I played four sports and I loved them all.”

She believed she wouldn’t have been the dominant softball player she was had she not played the other sports. Sarosy-Kiernan won a Brooklyn-Queens title in volleyball and was the league’s 55-meter champion in track as a senior. The footwork for volleyball improved her base stealing in softball, she said.

“I think it just makes you a better all-round player, and the off-season sports completely made me a better softball player, which is what I wanted to do and be,” Sarosy-Kiernan said. “I never really wanted to have off-time.”

Her skills and athletic ability allowed her to never let up the pressure on opposing softball teams. The switch-hitting leadoff batter and shortstop was nearly impossible to get out and was a terror to competitors once she got on base. The year TMLA won the state title, she hit .683 with an on-base percentage of .792 and stole 31 of 33 bases and played alongside fellow Hall of Famer and Division I pitcher Courtney Fitzgerald-Cardot, who was inducted into the GSCHAA Hall of Fame in 2011.

Former Mary Louis Coach Rich Borawski said her softball smarts made her the only player he gave the freedom to steal bases as she pleased.

“Ellen was the epitome of leadership,” Borawski said. “We would have never won a state championship without Ellen.”

Sarosy-Kiernan was moved to the outfield at Fairfield and continued to excel. She is the school’s all-time leader in hits, stolen bases and runs scored, and she was inducted into the Fairfield Hall of Fame in 2011. Sarosy-Kiernan said she enjoyed the GCHSAA ceremony more because of all the people from different parts of her past she was able to see and what the award represented.

“Fairfield was just about softball only,” Sarosy-Kiernan said. “Mary Louis was all about being a full person, being a complete athlete.”

She joined Molloy girls’ basketball great Jessica McEntee, St. Francis Prep Athletic Director Sal Fischetti and former St. Agnes Athletic Director Sister Richard Homan in the Hall of Fame.

McEntee, the Stanners’ all-time leading scorer (1,377) and rebounder (1,133), is just the second person from the school inducted after teammate Rosalyn Gold-Onwude. McEntee, who played in college at New York University, helped lead Molloy to the state Federation Class A and C titles.

“I had so much fun playing at Molloy,” McEntee said. “The whole high school experience to me was so great, so this is just a highlight for four years I really enjoyed.”

Fischetti was a successful girls’ basketball coach at St. Francis Prep from 1989-96, but thinks his job as athletic director, which he has held since 1998, is more fitting of his temperament and skills. SFP has one of the CHSAA’s most successful athletic departments.

“I’m an organizational maniac,” he said. “Everything runs out of my brain. I don’t write too many things down and I’m pretty good about getting it right.”

Fischetti likes to work in the background and isn’t big on accolades, so much so that he was unhappy upon hearing of his induction because of the attention it would bring before humbly accepting the honor.

Homan served within Catholic schools for 55 years as a teacher, coach and athletic director at different levels and parishes. During her time as St. Agnes’ athletic director from 1992 until her retirement in 2013, the school’s department flourished.

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