Prep tastes defeat again in softball final

St. Francis Prep's Danielle Cervasio walks to receive her runner-up plaque. Photo by Steven Schnibbe
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Danielle Cervasio lay crumpled in the grass just behind shortstop as the ball sailed over the left field fence.

The St. Francis Prep senior and four-year varsity player was overcome with emotion as Maria Serrantino’s two-run walk-off blast ended the Terriers’ season without a CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Class AA softball title in their last five trips to the final.

“My heart kind of just dropped,” said Cervasio, who will play at SUNY Cortland next year. “It’s a feeling that you never forget, the end of high school ball forever.”

SFP won the first game of the series 3-2 in nine innings Monday, only to drop the next two 3-1 and 6-4 Tuesday at Queens College. Fontbonne (13-3), which also won the regular season title, took home the school’s first diocesan crown.

When it was over, the entire St. Francis Prep dugout poured onto the field to console its leader who did everything she could to deliver a win. Cervasio, who plays a stellar shortstop, was on base four times combined in the final two games and scored twice in the second contest Tuesday. She nearly beat out a bunt that could have led to a big inning with the score tied 4-4 in the top of the sixth.

“It’s hard to see her pain,” Terriers Coach Ann Marie Rich. “She worked her butt off for four years. You can’t be more proud of a kid than her.”

Cervasio was on three of the four teams that were swept in the series by Archbishop Molloy. With the Stanners rebuilding, it appeared the door was open for the Terriers to win their first crown since 2008. They nearly made it happen.

Sisters Jessica and Julianne Menna each delivered RBI hits in extra innings of Game 1. SFP (11-4) put together a three-run fifth inning, highlighted by a two-run Briana Emanuele double to knot the score at 4-4 in Game 3 against tired Fontbonne ace Nicolette Trapani, who pitched all three games. Emanuele collected two hits and Jessica Menna, Tara Russo and Briana Baglino each drove in runs Tuesday.

“We were actually putting hits together,” said Rich, “then one swing of the bat.”

St. Francis Prep didn’t capitalize enough on its scoring chances after a freshman Monica Zhivanaj allowed three runs on four hits in Game 2 and Armano, who nabbed a victory in Game 1, surrendered just three earned runs in the finale. She allowed just a run before Serrantino’s blast from the second inning on.

The Terriers left nine runners in scoring position in Game 3, including eight with just one out recorded. Trapani got St. Francis Prep hitters all too often to pop out to the infield to keep the runners and St. Francis Prep from advancing.

“I’ve seen every single senior feel this way,” Cervasio said. “I know how they feel. I wanted to win it for everybody that didn’t win it, but it was a great three games.”

Updated 6:57 pm, May 23, 2013
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