2006-05-19 / Sports

St. Francis Ends Flippers' Title Dreams

By Elio Velez

Nicole Rescigno tries to slide safely under the tag of her catcher counterpart, St. Francis Prep's Krystil Hofmann. Photo by Borriello Photography. Nicole Rescigno tries to slide safely under the tag of her catcher counterpart, St. Francis Prep's Krystil Hofmann. Photo by Borriello Photography. The Coney Island Cyclone, one of the oldest wooden rollercoaster in the country, still gives chills and thrills to any rider who decides to take a ride on it.

There's another rollercoaster, though not as old, which is named the Stella Maris Lady Flippers Softball Ride. The ups and downs associated with a rollercoaster can apply with the 2006 softball team, who had more highs than lows to reach the Brooklyn/Queens Championship last Wednesday.

Stella Maris, the #4 seed entering the playoff, shook off an inconsistent level play in the regular season with an impressive run of beating higher ranked opponents. They easily dispatched the #1 seed in Brooklyn, Fontbonne Hall, 10-0. After losing to #2 seed Archbishop Molloy three times in the regular season, the Lady Flippers eked out an 8-7 extra inning win to face off against their rivals St. Francis Prep for the fourth time this year.

But Stella Maris could not continue their role as giantkillers. The #1 seed St. Francis Prep Terriers made the best of the numerous opportunities that came their way and won 9-5 in the first game and 80 in the second to win the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Championship in a best two out of three finals.

With a rainout and a field change to from Gil Hodges Field in Brooklyn to Floyd Bennett Field, the Lady Flippers were closer to home. Instead, it was St. Francis who felt comfortable on this field.

Both teams kept the first game a tight affair. With the game tied at 5 in the bottom of the sixth inning, St Francis Prep would take advantage of Stella Maris' defensive woes, which would feature prominently throughout the day.

Nicole Bifulco started the inning against pitcher Alexa Rosella, who relived Caitlin Garofalo, with a walk. Krystil Hofmann singled to centerfield as Stella Maris CF Alyce Miraglia bobbled the ball which allowed the runners to advance to second and third.

Carla Pennolino would bounce a one hopper to first baseman Caitlin Garofalo, who could not control the ball for the second error of the inning as the Terriers took a 6-5 lead. The Stella Maris ship would continue to capsize as Rosella allowed two wild pitches and an RBI single by Justine Clifford to increase the score to 9-5.

"The girls were tough, they battled back but it was just a tough game, a tough game," Flippers head coach Jim DeAngelo said. "Errors. You can't make errors. If we played tighter 'D' we don't give up a lot of those unearned runs and that's what killed us."

St. Francis Prep (18-4) pitcher Lynn Schiano did enough to get the win after allowing two runs in the top of the seventh to make it 9-7.

Rosella knocked in an RBI single to cut the lead to 9-7 and with the tying run at the plate, Alyssa Rich lined out to short to end the rally. In the second game, Krystil Hofmann would shutdown any hopes of Stella Maris (10-9) extending the series to a third game.

She extinguished potential scoring chances in the third and fifth inning and only allowed three hits and struck out nine in a complete game victory.

The Flippers had their best opportunity to comeback in the third inning. Alyce Miraglia reached on a error to start the inning and Nicole Rescigno knocked a single as runners landed on first and second. Hofmann would bunker down as Caitlin Dasaro, Jackie Frank and Alexa Rosella was retired in succession to end the threat.

"They were trying too hard. They were trying to go to the fences...... We got frustrated being down a few runs and it got to them a bit," DeAngelo said.

Their defensive mistakes again proved to be their downfall. St. Francis scored the bulk of their runs on five errors and three passed balls, which DeAngelo said was uncharacteristic of their effort most of the season.

"It wasn't our day and it wasn't our time. The girls played tough. I'm proud of each and every one of them."

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