Kovac, Bryant fall to Wagner in softball quarters

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The game started off so promisingly for Lana Kovac. The Bryant junior windmiller got the first two outs in the first inning against Susan Wagner with relative ease. Then it got difficult.

Taylor Sarcone doubled, Carmella Caccese reached on an error and Sarcone came in to score. Krystal Howard doubled and Justine Kuna reached on an error, scoring Howard. Christine Zipf doubled in Kuna. When all was said and done, Bryant was down four runs, all of them unearned, after one inning.

“Of course it would be,” Owls Coach Wally Hausdorf said when asked if the game would have been different without that horrific first inning. “Then we would have had a little confidence.”

No. 6 Bryant kept fighting, but it wasn’t enough against No. 3 Wagner in a 10−0, five−inning, run−rule loss Saturday in the PSAL Class A softball quarterfinals at Tottenville High School on Staten Island. Kovac gave up 10 runs, only three of them earned, on 12 hits and struck out four in five innings for the Owls.

“She pitched very well,” Hausdorf said. “They’re a hitting team. To them, Lana is a change−up pitcher.”

Kovac definitely deserved better. Bryant (15−3) made four errors behind her and Wagner (18−2) scored nine of its 10 runs with two outs.

“We have good days and bad days,” senior first baseman Thessaly Belizario said.

It was a very bad day that couldn’t spoil what was a good year for Bryant, though. The Owls were always going to have a tough time competing with the best teams on Staten Island. They play in a weak division and just don’t see the level of competition a team like Wagner does. But Bryant went 13−3 in Queens A−II and won 40 games overall.

“As far as years go, I’m thrilled,” Hausdorf said.

One of his concerns before the season was how Kovac was going to perform in her first season starting. She ended up emerging as one of the best pitchers in Queens and got better and better as the year wore on. Next year, she’ll probably be the top returning windmiller in the borough.

“She’ll get some miles on her fastball,” Hausdorf said. “She’ll get some more pitches.”

In all, Bryant returns nine players. The future appears to be rather bright. There were more than a few tears before the Owls boarded their coach bus back to Queens from Tottenville. But next year will mark a new beginning, as well as the milestone 30th year for Hausdorf, who is the winningest coach in state softball history.

“This,” Belizario said, “is not the end of Bryant HS.”

Posted 6:33 pm, October 10, 2011
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