Terriers topple Hilltoppers for Brooklyn/Queens crown

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Kristen McEvitt celebrated her 18th birthday in fine style Sunday afternoon, keeping the Mary Louis Hilltoppers at bay just long enough to lead the St. Francis Prep varsity softball team to a 2-1 victory in the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan championship game at Queens College.

The game was actually started two days earlier when the two teams began play despite a wet field and steady rain. The bad weather permitted just two innings but also afforded Prep the opportunity to capitalize on the inclement weather, scoring two unearned runs off Hilltoppers’ starter Stephanie Gozdziewski.

“I wanted to keep playing,” McEvitt admitted after the win. “We were doing really well even though it was a little messy. We were getting hits and she was having a little bit of trouble on the mound. So was I.”

Due to the wet weather, Gozdziewski simply did not have her usual control Friday, walking four and giving up the only St. Francis hit of the day, a two-out single to Nicole Perkins in the second.

The Terriers scored their first run in the first courtesy three walks to load the bases and an error on a ground ball that could also be attributed to the slick conditions. The second came across an inning later when Alicia Syrok, who reached on a fielder’s choice and went to third on Perkins’ single, scored when Michelle Gutierrez’s fly ball to center was misplayed.

“Both pitchers were not on their games,” Gozdziewski said. “The ball was wet, the field was slippery, it was just horrible. The only way I can put it was that those were not good conditions to play a championship game in.”

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon when both pitchers performed up to expectation, shutting down the opposition with only one hit being registered by either club.

McEvitt fanned the side in order in the top of the third, three of her 11 strikeouts for the game, before Gozdziewski came back after hitting the first batter she faced in the third to also strike out the side.

The two hurlers, who are also teammates on the Diamond Queens travel team, would control the game the rest of the way. Not that things didn’t get interesting.

The Hilltoppers cut their 2-0 deficit in half in the top of the fourth when Liz Strein drew a walk and then stole second and third, coming home when catcher Christina Aracena’s throw to third made its way into the outfield.

Mary Louis had a good opportunity to tie the game in the sixth, when Gozdziewski walked and stole second with one out and cleanup hitter Nicole Losito striding to the plate. A hot shot to third was handled cleanly by Gutierrez, who bluffed throwing to first and got Gozdziewski into a rundown before she slipped and got tagged out sliding into third.

Losito made it to second on the fielder’s choice, but McEvitt induced Strein to pop out to first to end the inning.

“That was nice,” said Prep coach Ann Marie Rich. “Thank God for mud.”

McEvitt struck out the first two batters she faced in the top of the seventh before giving up a two-out single to pinch hitter Michelle Walsh. The senior pitcher, however, fanned Carol-Jean Kavanaugh on a full-count to end the game.

“It was a good game,” said Gozdziewski, who picked up the loss despite allowing no earned runs and just one hit. “We played our hearts out. It came down to the two best teams in Queens.”

“This is what I asked for,” McEvitt said of her birthday wish. “I said before the game I either want a hit or a win.”

St. John Villa 3, St. Francis Prep 1. McEvitt pitched a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts and two walks, but three errors led to three unearned runs and a win for Staten Island’s St. John Villa Tuesday afternoon in the CHSAA city championship game at Queens College.

With two out in the fifth, St. John’s capitalized on two throwing errors and a double to go ahead 2-0. Another error in the sixth plated the third run.

In the bottom of the sixth, Nicole Perkins singled, Christine Rocchio reached on an error and, after a sacrifice bunt by Christina Aracena, Perkins scored on Marissa Evangelista’s single for Prep’s lone run.

St. Francis ends the season with a 16-5 record.

Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.

Updated 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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