Molloy sweeps Prep for 2nd straight title

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A hittable pitch has a certain look for Julia Lipovac.

“When I hit a ball, I zone in on it,” the Archbishop Molloy senior said. “To me it always looks down the middle.”

That is exactly what a Nicole Lomangino pitch looked like with two outs in the fifth inning. Lipovac lined the ball up the middle for a two-run single. It sparked a string of four straight hits and a four-run frame that gave the Stanners all the runs they would need. Molloy won Game 1 2-0 behind a career-high 14 strikeouts from sophomore Victoria Goldbach and took the second game 4-0 to win its second straight CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens softball title Friday at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Lipovac produced the first RBI hit in the doubleheader’s first 12 innings.

“It’s like a chain reaction,” sophomore Maria Palmeri said. “Once somebody starts hitting, I think it relaxes everybody. They know I’ve got to get a hit. She did it so I have to do it, too.”

That she did and her teammates also. Palmeri followed with a single. Dana Moss brought home a run with an RBI hit down the rightfield line and Jackie Perillo dunked a single to right to score Palmeri to make it 4-0. Molloy (15-1) beat SFP (11-5) twice during the regular season and swept the Terriers for the second straight year without giving up a run in the championship series.

“We again had a big inning,” Molloy Coach Maureen Rosenbaum said. “Very often we have a big inning and only a big inning.”

One run would have been enough for Palmeri, who rebounded from a rocky six-run sixth inning against the Terriers in a loss during the final game of the regular season. This time around she allowed just five hits, walked three and struck out six. Palmeri, who featured her change-up more, struck out ToniAnn Groth and Katie Derby on balls up to strand St. Francis Prep at second and third in the third.

“Today I was just determined, like I know I can do this,” Palmeri said of bouncing back.

She and the Stanners were in position to sweep because of a stellar performance from Goldbach, who used her change-up and screw ball to keep the SFP hitters off balance. She outdueled Terriers ace Katie Derby. Goldbach, coming off a strong performance against Christ the King in the semifinals, allowed just four hits and walked three. She struck out the side in the seventh. Derby surrendered five hits and struck out five over five innings, but walked two to start the sixth.

“After the first three innings when I was throwing them off with my change-up I knew it was going to be a good day,” Goldbach said.

Molloy got a run in first when SFP third baseman Kristen McGolderick dropped a throw that would have ended the second inning and Goldbach had a sac fly in the sixth to make it 2-0. The Terriers’ best chance to score came in the fourth. Molloy killer Briana Franceschini lined a ball just foul down the leftfield line with runners on first and second, before hitting into a fielder’s choice. She hit a ball over the fence that curved foul in the fifth also.

The win earned the Stanners a spot in the CHSAA state tournament against the Buffalo representative at SUNY Old Westbury June 1. The St. Joseph by the Sea Vikings beat Molloy in the state semifinals last year and defeated the Stanners 10-2 in five innings earlier this season.

“Sea did a number on us,” Rosenbaum. “We didn’t even play close to potential that day. We are eagerly waiting to rematch them and at least give them a good game, which I definitely think we can do.”

Updated 5:57 pm, October 10, 2011
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