“It was an uphill climb to get here,” said Fontbonne Head Coach Frank Marinello referring to his team’s reaching the GCHSAA Brooklyn-Queens AA Varsity softball playoff final. After losing their first playoff game to St. Francis Prep, the Bonnies rallied back to beat Mary Lewis and Molloy to play once again against unbeaten St. Francis Prep for the 2016 title game
Fontbonne 6 Molloy 2
Continuing to advance in the losers’ bracket of the playoff in the double elimination format, the Bonnies faced last season’s 2015 state champs as Fontbonne pitcher Bianca Marletta held the Stanners scoreless throughout six innings. Fontbonne jumped ahead in the third inning as the unlikely hero, Abigail Fogliano (two for three with four RBIs) punched a bases-loaded double into right center field to put the Bonnies up 3-0.
Having a career game while fighting through arm tendonitis, Fogliano then followed in the sixth inning with a triple to score Emily Manti to give the Bonnies a secure 4-1 lead. Marletta continued to handcuff the Stanners until she gave up one more run in the sixth inning for the 6-2 Fontbonne win to advance to the playoff final against St. Francis Prep.
St. Francis Prep 3 Fontbonne 2 – playoff final
“They’re here because they played like they deserve to be,” stated Coach Marinello on his team’s achievement to come back from the losers’ bracket to win two games to play St. Francis in the final. After waiting to play Fontbonne after a week’s layoff, the well-rested Terriers were anxious to play the disadvantaged Bonnies who would be sending Marletta back to the mound after a 100-plus-pitch performance the day before against Molloy.
Early on, the Bonnies missed a golden opportunity to get on the board in the second inning when the Bonnies failed to get any runner home with the bases loaded. Despite concern for Marletta’s endurance to pitch, she still held the Terriers hitless and scoreless into the sixth inning as her teammates scored a pair of early runs for a tenuous two run lead.
Continuing to have a successful playoff series, Manti singled in Natalie LaCognata in the third inning, while Alexa Bertelle scored in the fourth inning from second after her double on Liz Tesoriero’s shot to first base that was misplayed to give Fontbonne a slim 2-0 lead going into the sixth inning.
Although pitching on back-to-back days appeared to be of no concern to Marletta while approaching a 200-pitch count and facing the batting order for the third time around, the Terriers ultimately caught up with the Fontbonne ace as St. Francis Prep managed to score three come-from-behind runs in the sixth inning for the 3-2 victory to win the Brooklyn-Queens AA Championship.
“They played like they deserved to win, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen,” said Coach Marinello. “They served their school well, playing in the toughest division in Queens.” Noting that this season’s underclassmen will step up next year and will be joined by some new additions, Marinello concluded, “Fontbonne softball will be fine next year; we’ll still be competitive.”