Two words: total dominance.
The Archbishop Molloy H.S., Briarwood, junior varsity softball team turned in a totally dominant spring season by finishing a perfect 20-0 en route to capturing the GCHSAA Tier 1 city championship.
The undefeated season is the first in program history. It also marks the fifth career city title for head coach Lou Santos, who has spent the past 20 of his 59 total coaching years leading the Stanners.
Santos knew early on this season that his team was special. Molloy notched decisive victories against two Long Island softball powerhouses: Kellenberg Memorial H.S., Uniondale, and St. Anthony’s H.S., South Huntington.
This immediate jolt of confidence carried throughout the entire season. The Stanners excelled on the mound, at the plate, and in the field — a true recipe for success.
“When you’re not walking anybody and you’re not giving up any errors in the infield or the outfield and you hit the way we hit, it all meshed,” Santos said. “We were out there six days a week, including weekends.”
The team’s offensive attack was otherworldly. The Stanners put up double-digit runs in 17 of their 20 victories. On the biggest stage against Fontbonne Hall Academy, Bay Ridge, in the city championship game, Molloy’s 13-run third inning was the exclamation point of the exciting journey.
“This year we were a talented team,” said sophomore pitcher Sofia De La Rosa. “Our infield was amazing. With good pitching and good hitting too, all of that combined made this season what we wanted it to be.”
In addition to her 102 average in the classroom, De La Rosa excelled on the diamond for the Stanners. She threw strikes on 82 percent of her pitches while also recording a .450 batting average.
The team’s freshmen also made major contributions. Freshman catcher Jovanna Donarumma hit a whopping .670 while throwing out 70 percent of would-be base stealers and picking off six runners. Freshman shortstop Mary Lou Piazza was a defensive stalwart to go along with a .410 batting average.
Freshman third baseman Gia Spinelli showed off a cannon arm defensively and carried a big stick at .490 with power. Freshman first baseman Ava Hershkovitz provided power from the left side with a .465 batting average.
Despite all the challenges this school year, the Stanners were able to focus on what they loved as the season progressed.
“It was very special this year,” De La Rosa said. “We had a lot of hardships come our way in the beginning — especially not knowing what was going to happen. But this group of girls really came together, and we finished off the season very well.”
Molloy’s coaching staff also played a role in this season’s success. Associate head coach Chris Zucchi — who’s been beside Santos for 14 years — was integral to running the team on a daily basis. Outfield coach Sal Vassallo, pitching coach Maria Palmeri and helpful dads Scott Hershkovitz and John Porcaro were there to support the student-athletes all the way.
“It takes a lot to do what we do,” Santos said. “We were on Zoom all the time talking about defenses and other things. The program just doesn’t happen. It’s something that encompasses a great deal of behind-the-scenes work.”
Molloy will return a talented group of freshmen to next year’s junior varsity squad. The preparation will begin soon, but for now, the Stanners can continue to enjoy their historic season.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at email@example.com.