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Molloy dethroned by Fontbonne in shocking defeat

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Archbishop Molloy did not look like the defending CHSAA state champion when it was upset by Fontbonne last week. Returning to softball championship form was the goal coming into last Thursday’s contest against Mary Louis, and that’s exactly what the Stanners did.

“We were really psyched to come out and play today and we’ve been working really hard to get back to where we were last season,” Molloy star shortstop Maria Palmeri said. “It seems like we’re back and we are going to try our hardest to repeat — it’s what we want, after all.”

Molloy took its first step toward a second straight championship by dismantling Mary Louis 10-0 in five innings via the run rule, at Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows. Palmeri led the hot-hitting Stanners with three runs batted in on three hits, falling a home run shy of the cycle, while Victoria Goldbach excelled on the mound, striking out seven and only surrendering three hits over five innings.

“I just really wanted to win today after losing the other day,” Goldbach said. “I think we really got into a groove all around and it was contagious.”

“Tori was really good today, she was on her game,” Palmeri added. “I think we can expect games like this from her a lot going forward.”

Goldbach dominated the Mary Louis lineup from top to bottom right from the first pitch. She didn’t allow a base runner through the first three innings and only allowed two runners to reach second base the entire game. Using an effective mix of her fast ball and change-up, she had Mary Louis off balance all afternoon, something Molloy Coach Maureen Rosenbaum was elated to see.

“She came out really confident and strong, she used all of her pitches very well, too,” Rosenbaum said. “It was a good challenge for her, and going forward I would like to see double-digit strikeout games from her.”

By the end of the fourth inning, the Molloy offense had already wrapped up its first win of the season, as it plated seven runs, bringing up 11 hitters to the plate in total. Three walks issued by Mary Louis pitcher Nicole Hubert loaded the bases for leadoff hitter Theresa Conway, who smashed a single that got by right fielder Gabby Malave, leading to three runners crossing the plate.

A Palmeri RBI triple followed by a run-scoring sacrifice fly from Taylor Moss and an RBI double from Fallon McCarthy put the game well out of reach and showed that the surprising loss to Fontbonne was an aberration instead of a trend.

“We got everything together today, offensively and defensively,” Rosenbaum said. “Winning big like this will hopefully get us in motion and gives us confidence moving forward.”

Mary Louis, on the other hand, has suffered two tough losses to begin its season, with the first being a 4-2 loss to St. Francis Prep in nine innings March 27. Despite the less-than-ideal start to the 2012 campaign, Coach Ginny Peiser isn’t worried going forward.

“Goldbach kept us off balance all day, and it’s another tough loss mentally, but I definitely think we can bounce back,” she said. “We’re stuck in neutral right now, but we always believe we can end up on top at the end of the season.”

Meanwhile, Molloy is looking to put its season into fifth gear, and Goldbach is hoping that the dominant victory is just the first of many.

“It’s better to lose in March than in May, so hopefully we got our tough loss out of the way early already,” she said. “If everyone does their job like they did today, I think we can repeat.”

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