Molloy’s leftfielder Jamie Durso had a chance to become the hero in a game Thursday that already had plenty of intriguing storylines.
The matchup featured the Stanners taking on St. Francis Prep in a hard-fought rivalry that has been established for several years. The fact that the winner would claim the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I regular season outright in a tiebreaker game added to the excitement.
Durso capped off a thriller by driving in the game-winning single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Molloy a 7-6 come from behind victory over St. Francis Prep at Cunningham Park in Queens.
Molloy had rebounded from a sloppy effort earlier in the game to overcome a three-run deficit and rally in its last at bat.
“I think [early errors were] a bit of a setback, but as a team we all came together and we knew what our job was to do,” Durso said.
The Stanners trailed by a run in the last half of the seventh, but received back-to-back RBI singles from starting pitcher Amanda Zeni and Durso, who plated Camille Sears with the infield drawn in, to win the regular season title. Top-seeded Molloy takes on either Mary Louis Academy or Christ the King in the diocesan semifinals Monday at Cunningham Park.
“It was a very exciting game. We had a lot of fire today, we came here ready to play and we really wanted it,” Zeni said. “We came here, we were pumped. We were down in the first inning and they scored the runs, but I think we bounced back really well.”
Archbishop Molloy (16-4), ranked No. 2 in New York City by MSG Varsity, needed a bit of luck to get here. St. Francis Prep had a chance to win the division title on Monday, but fell 3-0 to pitcher Bianca Marletta and Fontbonne Hall at home.
Molloy got a chance to set up the division tiebreaking game by defeating Christ the King Tuesday to set up the winner-take-all matchup against the Terriers as both teams ended with a 6-2 division record.
“It’s a strange wacky season, everyone is beating everyone on any single given day," Molloy coach Maureen Rosenbaum said. "We had a problem earlier in the year about not fighting and coming back."
“We were down a couple of runs the last time we played [St. Francis Prep], even the time we were down to Mary Louis [3-2 loss], I don’t know, we just didn’t fight back hard enough,” Rosenbaum said. “But I know they are capable of doing it. Today we did it.”
St. Francis Prep, (9-5), ranked No. 3 in New York City by MSG Varsity, jumped out to a 3-0 lead with the help of sloppy defensive play form the opposition. Molloy catcher Victoria Brown committed a throwing error that allowed Taylor Russo to score the first run of the game. St. Francis Prep received an RBI single by Julie Menna and scored another run on two more errors to take a 3-0 lead.
Molloy would finally get even in the fifth inning after being down by the score of 5-3. Brown came home from third on an errant throw from Terriers catcher Kelly Licul to cut the deficit to one run. Jessica Hickey plated Alexandra Yule with an RBI single to draw the game even at 5-all.
Licul made up for her previous error by giving St. Francis Prep a 6-5 lead by driving in Miranda Cintron on a two-out RBI single to centerfield in the top of the sixth inning. The Terriers would ultimately not be able to add to the slim lead and will have to bounce back Monday in a diocesan semifinal game at home against third-seeded Fontbonne Hall.
“Even though we jumped out on them early, I think we got too much in our own heads saying you know we did this now we can score ‘X’ amount of runs in each inning and we never bounced back,” Licul said. “This is a learning experience, but I have faith in this team.”