St. Francis softball waits for shot at elusive title

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The St. Francis Prep girls’ varsity softball team has waited more than two years to get back to the Catholic High School Athletic Association championship, originally slated for Tuesday afternoon. But inclement weather postponed the much-anticipated game, forcing the Terriers to wait a little bit longer.

The city finals will be played at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Queens College, with St. Francis taking on defending champs Bishop Kearney, 3-1 victors over The Mary Louis Academy in the semifinals.

“What are you going to do?” said St. Francis Prep coach Ann Marie Rich. “We didn’t have one rain out this season. We got lucky in that respect. It was just a matter of time before it rained.”

The road to the finals was not an easy one for Prep, winners of the Queens’ regular season title with a perfect 10-0 record. After steamrolling over Bishop Ford in the first round, the Terriers played a nail-biting affair against Fontbonne Hall last week, barely coming away with a 6-4 win.

The game was knotted at four in the sixth when Samantha Houston walked and stole second. Kim O’Rourke then bunted the lead runner to third and Houston scored when the throw to first went into right field.

O’Rourke raced around the bases and came home when Terrier rightfielder Diana Cuppini fell fielding the ball, allowing O’Rourke to come home and seemingly giving Fontbonne a 5-4 lead. But the runner failed to touch third base and was called out on the ensuing appeal.

In the bottom of the inning, Kristen Scanlon belted a two-run single to give Prep a two-run lead it would never relinquish.

St. Francis trailed 3-1 earlier in the game after Gina Pisano’s three-run homer in the fourth, before Marina Ysaac gave the lead back to Prep later in the inning with a three-run blast of her own.

“It was good to see in a tight game that they could come back,” Rich said. “We haven’t had too many games like that. It was good to see that they didn’t give up.”

Rich said she does not know too much about Kearney, the team that ousted the Terriers in the semifinals a season ago. But she said she is expecting a competitive game.

“I think we’re pretty much going into this on the same level,” the coach said. “That’s the way to go into it. We really don’t know too much about them.”

Prep heads into the game with a 16-2 overall record and 12-0 league mark.

Bishop Kearney 3, The Mary Louis Academy 1. Hilltoppers’ pitcher Stefanie Gozdziewski allowed just three hits and struck out eight, but Kearney capitalized when needed. Kim Procida drove in all three runs for the victors, including a two-run double in the fifth. Mary Louis finished the season with a 12-6 record.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.

Updated 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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