Molloy rallies but falls to Vikings in CHSAA state semis

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SYOSSET, L.I. — The ball sailed high and deep to right center field off the bat of St. Joseph by the Sea’s Jackie Kelly and well over the head of Archbishop Molloy’s Julia Lipovac.

“As soon as I saw it hit the bat, I just tried to run as fast as I could,” Lipovac said.

The Vikings’ Jackie Bonamassa was quicker and would easily score from first to give St. Joseph by the Sea a 4−3 victory in the CHSAA state semifinal⁄city championship game at Our Lady of Mercy in Syosset, L.I., May 26. Molloy, still a little down from the defeat, gave up three runs in the first inning and lost 4−2 to St. Mary’s of Lancaster in the consolation game.

“Well, you’re hoping maybe she can catch it,” senior windmiller Janelle Boyd said of Kelly’s hit. “Who knows, but it’s just like, ‘Ah.’ Nothing really went through my head. I wasn’t happy about it.”

It spoiled the Stanners’ attempt at a come−fro­m−behind win. Molloy trailed by a run heading into the top of the seventh. Anniela Vaccaro singled to center field with one out. Then, with two outs and two strikes, Lipovac sent a ball over the head of Bonamassa in center to score the speedy Vaccaro to tie the score 3−3.

“It was two strikes, so I just kind of choked up on the bat and try to pop it over there,” Lipovac said.

Unfortunately for Molloy, she was tagged out in a rundown trying to come home to end the inning with Boyd on deck.

“We thought she was caught in the run down and then she took to wide turn at third and then she just got caught up,” Molloy Coach Maureen Rosenbaum said.

Molloy led most of the game against a team that swept a doubleheader against the Stanners in April. Both teams scratched across first−inning runs. Maria Palmeri doubled with one out in the top of the second. She then stole third and scored when Sea catcher Sammi Lou Anastasio’s throw went into left field to make it 2−1.

It stayed that way until the fifth, when Sea (18−2) got runners on second and third to start the inning and brought home runs on an error and RBI ground−out by Kelly to take a 3−2 lead.

Molloy (16−2) let a golden opportunity elude it in top of the sixth. Boyd, who allowed five hits and struck out seven, doubled to left center and Julianne Keyes followed with a single up the middle to put runners at second and third against starter Meghan Seaman. The sophomore got Sheri Florio to ground out to short before being lifted for ace Amanda Barrese with Palmeri, who had two hits already, coming up. The junior got two more ground outs to keep Molloy off the board.

“We talked to them all season just when there are runners on second and third try[ing] to put the ball in play and that was probably our weakness this year in big games,” Rosenbaum said.

While it was a disappointing day, the Stanners had a phenomenal season. Molloy went undefeated in the CHSAA Brooklyn⁄Queens division and swept rival St. Francis Prep in the final to win its second title in three seasons.

“I felt like we worked hard,” Boyd said. “We played hard and as long as you give your all, what more can you ask for?”

Updated 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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