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Mary Louis wins B/Q championship

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It was true. Losito's daughter Nicole and the Mary Louis softball team remained undefeated and edged St. Francis Prep 1-0 in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens championship game on a play that was so bizarre it took Losito's yelling during the trophy ceremony to snap both teams out of its malaise.The play began innocently enough with a bunt Tuesday afternoon at Queens College, a Tina Ruggiero dribbler down the third base line with a runner at second in the eighth inning of a scoreless game.Charging in came shortstop Nicole BiFulco, who scooped the ball up and tossed it to Tiffany Caban at third base. Johanna Peiser - the runner from Mary Louis who led off the inning on second because of the international tiebreaker rule that grants each team a runner at second to start off the extra inning - slid into third base, colliding with Caban.With Caban, who injured her left knee, writhing in pain and Peiser, a sophomore, safe at third, a couple of players from St. Francis Prep (17-8) gathered to check to see if she was ok.At that point, Mary Louis third base coach Bobby Langer began waving his hands, urging Ruggiero to continue on to second. Peiser thought he was yelling at her, so she took off for home with notions of winning the championship.Caban, still slumped at third base with the ball tucked in her glove, bounced up and threw to senior first basemen Samantha Jo Marciliano, now covering home in a play that with each passing second was spelling doom for the Hilltoppers.Marciliano, the hero of the Terriers' semifinal win over Stella Maris, caught the ball and began pump-faking the Peiser back to third. Marciliano followed her two-thirds of the way back to the base before finally unloading the ball that was wild and landed behind Caban. Peiser darted home while the fluorescent ball rolled onto the outfield grass."What can you say?" Mary Louis second-year coach Tom Sarosy said. "It was pure luck, getting a score on a run-down. (Langer) was talking to the runner at first, but that's the way it happened. It's incredible."St. Francis Prep coach Ann Marie Rich admitted she was at a loss for words when it was time to address her team after the trophy ceremony. She had never seen anything as bizarre as this in her 18 years at the school."I thought the umpire had called 'time' on the play," she said. "Tiffany didn't hear anything that made her believe the play was still going on (until she saw the runner heading toward home)...It wasn't our fault that we lost the game. It shouldn't have ended this way."St. Francis Prep pitcher Nina Cesare was more candid in her description of what happened. She and Nicole Losito each waged a torrid battle on the mound, pitching brilliantly for seven innings. And in small way, it seemed only appropriate that the game was decided on a run-down instead of a hit because both were nearly untouchable for the game."It was the cheapest way to win the game that I have ever seen in my entire life," said New York Tech bound Cesare, who struck out six and gave up just three hits and retired the first nine batters she faced Tuesday. "I wanted to beat them in the worse way," she went on. "That was the cheapest way to lose. I can't explain how this feels. I worked too hard to get to this point for it to end like this."Losito was equally as potent as Cesare, fanning nine batters in eight innings and giving up just two hits. She retired 10 out of the last 12 batters she faced and didn't allow any runners past second base for the game.Losito pitched in the Brooklyn-Queens final last year when Mary Louis, up 4-1 to Bishop Kearney in last year's Brooklyn-Queens final, eventually lost 6-4. And she was a shortstop two years ago when the Hilltoppers lost to St. Francis Prep in the final, so the win, although unconventional, was still sweet."I told myself that I wasn't going to let anyone get on base," said Losito, who, together with catcher Michelle Walsh, is attending Molloy College in the fall. "I couldn't believe the last play when it happened. I ran into the dugout and said 'what is she doing?' I was standing right there when she scored."Peiser, a role player who lost her starting job in the middle of the season, was mobbed by her teammates after the game while the Terriers walked slowly off the field, their grief nearly palpable."I didn't think I was going to be put in position to win the game for us," said Peiser who grounded out to end the seventh inning as a pinch-hitter and was obligated to start the eighth on second base. "When I was asked to pinch-hit I was shaking. Now it feels amazing."Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by E-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.

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