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Palmeri’s bat inspires title

TimesLedger Newspapers

Archbishop Molloy won its first CHSAA state softball title behind a powerful middle in the batting order. It’s because of those same players that the Stanners will get a chance to defend that crown.

“It definitely brought us back,” sophomore Taylor Moss said. “We usually get stronger as the season comes to an end.”

She had four hits and a walk, scored twice and drove in two runs, including the tying one in the top of the sixth. Moss, her sister Dana and Maria Palmeri combined to go 10-for-14 with four RBIs and five runs scored in Molloy’s 7-5 comeback win over St. Francis Prep in Game 2 of the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens softball championship series Sunday at Queens College. Molloy claims its fourth straight sweep and diocesan crown.

“I’d like to think that we’re peaking now,” Stanners Coach Maureen Rosenbaum said. “We really haven’t peaked this year.”

The victory is a special one for Palmeri, who has started on all four clubs. She began this game in the circle, but was chased down 5-2 with two outs in the third inning despite only allowing one hit. The C.W. Post-bound shortstop, who saw two runs score on wild pitches, then made a diving grab to end the frame behind ace Victoria Goldbach. Taylor Moss said Palmeri never talked about what this victory would mean to her, but you just knew by how she played.

“The first one is always going to be my biggest memory, freshman on varsity,” Palmeri said. “But now this is the completion.”

The Stanners bats have Goldbach to thank for giving them a chance for their second comeback win in this series. Molloy (13-2) scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 3-2 victory all the way back to May 23 in Game 1. The senior windmiller tossed 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just two hits. SFP (9-6) got four runs in the third without a hit to make it 5-2 and led 5-3 after Molloy’s Julianne Tracy brought home a run in the fourth with a fielder’s choice. Theresa Conway had two hits, walked twice and scored a run for the Stanners.

“I knew our bats were going to wake up sooner or later,” Goldbach said. “My main concern was not letting them score any more runs.”

She was able to keep the young Terriers lineup at bay, but it was still a successful season in SFP Coach Ann Marie Rich’s mind. Her squad loses just two seniors in Lomangino, who she felt was affected by the heat in the late innings, and outfielder Eishara Campbell. She gave the Molloy middle of the order credit for what it’s done against her team over the years, but likes the way her team is set for the future.

“There is still a lot of talent there,” Rich said. “I’ve got a lot of young kids. It’s a good crop. We are not totally depleted.”

Molloy now advances to the CHSAA state tournament where it meets Archdiocesan champion and rival St. Joseph by the Sea in the semifinals 1:30 p.m. last Tuesday at Kellenberg. The game will also serve as the city title game. Stanners locked up the first of three crowns as they will now defend their state championship.

“If I look back on my high school years, you won all four years I played on varsity,” Palmeri said. “It’s a pretty big deal.”

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