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Clutch hit eludes St. Francis in B/Q final loss

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Ann Marie Rich asked the question that summed up her St. Francis Prep team’s day.

“How many men did [we] leave on base in both games?” the coach said. “It was so many.”

The answer is 16, eight in each game. The Terriers fell 2-0 in Game 1 to rival Archbishop Molloy and 4-0 in the second game, getting swept for the second straight season in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens championship series Friday at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. The losses snapped SFP’s five-game winning streak, which included a 10-4 victory over the Stanners, who now have won back-to-back titles, in both teams’ regular-season finale.

“It was weird considering the way we had been hitting coming in,” junior pitcher Katie Derby said. “We were hitting, but we just weren’t getting the hits when we needed them the most.”

Senior Briana Franceschini, who had two big homers against Molloy (15-1) in the regular season, nearly got the Terriers on the board twice against Victoria Goldbach, who struck out 14, in Game 1. She slammed a ball just foul down the leftfield line with runners on first and second and no outs in the fourth and Molloy up 1-0. Franceschini, who had two hits in the second game, turned on an inside pitch and smashed it foul over the leftfield fence in the sixth. A homer would have tied the score for SFP (11-5).

“I think she put a little too much pressure on herself today,” said Rich, who bumped her up in the lineup for Game 2. “I think she is allowed to have one of those days. She still hit, but I think she would like to have had a long ball. We all would have liked to have that long ball there. It might have changed things.”

Derby pretty much matched Goldbach pitch for pitch through five innings. Molloy’s first run scored on an error in the second. She allowed four hits, struck out five, thanks to outstanding movement, before walking the first two hitters in the six. Nicole Lomangino, who started the second game, came on in relief and allowed a sac fly.

“The fact that I pitched yesterday, I was warmed up and ready for this,” Derby said.

Maria Palmeri shut down the SFP attack in the second game, allowing four hits and striking out six. The sophomore fanned ToniAnn Groth and Derby to strand SFP runners at second and third with one out. St. Francis Prep loses four starters in Groth, Franceschini, Kalyssa Daley and Alex Sobrino from a team that improved leaps and bounds from the start of the season.

“We will be more prepared and much better next year,” Derby said.

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