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Mary Louis softball stunned in B/Q quarterfinals

It wasn't supposed to end like this. Not in the quarterfinals of the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan playoffs. Not against Bishop Kearney.

The Mary Louis Academy softball season, which began with such high expectations, swiftly ended in stunning fashion Tuesday afternoon with an extra-inning defeat.

Kearney, which twice rallied from deficits in the seventh and eighth innings to beat the Hilltoppers, 8-7, advance to the semifinals to face St. Francis Prep Monday afternoon at Cunningham Park. Senior-laden Mary Louis is left to lament what could have been.

The loss was particularly heartwrenching for senior first baseman Megan White who left Gil Hodges Field in tears.

"It's my senior year, I didn't want it to end like this," said White, who will play at Division II University of New Haven next year. "I really wanted to come back and show Prep and Molloy we were here to compete."

Mary Louis, the No. 3 seed in the Queens division, led 5-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but Kearney rallied for three runs and, thanks to a two-run double to centerfield by Kristin O'Neill, sent the game into extra innings.

"We like to make things interesting," senior shortstop Laura Guzman said. "It's been happening all year. We came in here thinking we were going to win and we can't be like that all the time."

Some shoddy fielding by Kearney opened the door for Mary Louis to score twice in the top of the seventh inning and it appeared the Hilltoppers' third lead of the game would hold up. But the Tigers rallied again, this time with two outs. With the bases loaded, reliever Gina Loriggio struck out Norah Marley for what should have been the third out.

The ball got away from Mary Louis catcher Danielle Marino, who retrieved it from the backstop. Instead of stepping on home plate for the final out, she fired to first where Marley beat the throw and Kearney was within one.

"I don't even know what to say to you guys, except that this shouldn't have happened," Mary Louis coach Ginny Peiser told reporters. "I give (Kearney) credit, they never gave up. That was the way our season went. We take a lead and then kind of relax and let the other team get back into the game every single time...Especially for our eight seniors, this was a hard lesson to learn."

O'Neill followed with a game-winning, two-run single to center to cap Kearney's rally and end Mary Louis' season.

"We just didn't come to play today," White said. "They took us by surprise."

Fontbonne Hall 6, Christ the King 4. Lauren Russell had an RBI triple and Christ the King led 2-0 in the first inning. But Fontbonne scored four runs in the third inning and added two more in the fifth inning to advance to the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan semifinals. Domenica Marsala had a pair of hits and Catherine Illuzzi was solid at first base for the Royals, which qualified for the playoffs for the first time in six years.

"We gave them a good fight," Christ the King coach Frank Florio said. "We swung the bats."

Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at dbutler@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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