That's because the Hilltoppers just staked Nicole Losito, arguably the most dominant pitcher in the CHSAA, a four-run lead against Bishop Kearney in the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan championship game.
On most days a one-run lead is all Losito needs, which is why Mary Louis was still in shock almost a half hour after the game, after Kearney scored five runs in the bottom of the third en route to a 6-4 win at Joe Torre Little League Field in Brooklyn.
"We were so confident that we had that game won because we were up by four, but we didn't realize the team could come back and beat us by two runs," the junior catcher said. "I think we laid low after that and we should have kept our game up."
Bishop Kearney (24-1) added an insurance run in the fifth inning to capture its first B/Q title since 2000. The Tigers have made the championship game in each of the last three years but lost every time, including last year to St. Francis Prep.
Pitcher Jen Pomponio and catcher Nicole Estrada didn't want to end their senior seasons with another loss to a highly touted Queens opponent. Both delivered clutch two-run singles in the third inning after the best friends shook off shaky starts.
Estrada atoned for a three-run throwing error up the first base line to make a brilliant diving catch to open the seventh inning.
After giving up one run on three hits in the first inning, Pomponio, whose father was one of five people on the ground killed when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in Belle Harbor on Nov. 12, 2001, settled down and allowed just two hits in the final six innings. The University of Tampa-bound hurler retired 12 of the final 14 batters she faced and held the final five batters in the Mary Louis lineup to a combined 0-for-15.
"In the last inning with the last batter (before) the last strike, the first thing I said when I stepped (into the circle), I said, 'Dad, you're going to help me through this,'" Pomponio said, "and strike three."
Losito drove in Campuzano with an RBI-double in the first and both scored, along with Julie Walsh, when Estrada tried to turn a double play on a force out at home in the third inning.
"You'd think we had it, especially with Nicole pitching and she's very good," said Sarosy, whose team falls to 17-6 but returns all but four players next year. "But she had too many balls up."
Marissa Iacullo led off the bottom of the third with a walk, Nicole Proto and Kristina Triglia followed with back-to-back singles, and Valerie Zarneski reached on a throwing error by third baseman Ruggerio.
"I was really mixing up my pitches, and maybe that's why I messed up," Losito said. "I shouldn't have thrown as many drops. They were reaching but, I don't know, maybe I should have just come back with my fastball. That's what we were doing in the first few innings and it was working."
After Losito struck out Lauren D'Acierno, Pomponio and Estrada put the game away with a pair of two-run singles. Zarneski would give Pomponio a two-run cushion when she scored on an error by Langer at second base.
"I was pretty confident we had the game, but I guess they came back," Campuzano said. "They were a good hitting team and they did their job."
Long Island City 17, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts 2. Alex Torres went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a home run for Long Island City (5-8, Queens II-B) at home Saturday. Frank Sinatra fell to 2-10 in the division.
August Martin 21, Far Rockaway 6. Iana Johnson went 4-for-4, hit two home runs and struck out five in four innings pitched for August Martin (10-4, Queens I-B) Friday at home. Far Rockaway dropped to 8-7 in the division.
Beach Channel 20, Springfield Gardens 2. Dandrel Young drove in four runs and went 3-for-3 for Beach Channel (13-0, Queens I-B) Friday at home. Sprigfield Gardens fell to 1-12 in the division.
Richmond Hill 14, John Bowne 12. Rachel Babooram struck out 11 in a complete-game win for Richmond Hill (13-0, Queens III-B) Friday at John Bowne, which fell to 9-5 in the division.
Newtown 20, Long Island City 6. Erika Collado went 3-for-3 with five RBIs and three runs scored for Newtown (12-0, Queens II-B) Friday at Long Island City.
Jamaica 13, Robert F. Kennedy 2. Renita Raghubir struck out nine in five innings and gave up two hits for Jamaica (8-7, Queens III-B) Friday at M. Fajardo Playground. Kennedy fell to 7-6 in the division.
Flushing 22, Thomas Edison 9. Athena Apessos went 4-for-5 with six RBIs for Flushing (4-10, Queens III-B) at Joe Austin Playground Friday. Edison dropped to 0-13 in the division.
- Mitch Abramson contributed to this story
Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2004 Community News Group
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