Mildred Piscopo remembers well the first time Victoria Capozucca was in this position. The ace right−hander was an eighth grader on varsity at Poly Prep and in the circle for the Blue Devils against Marymount in the NYSAISAA championship game.
“I could see her out there, her knees kind of shaking,” the coach said.
That was a long time ago – three years and three titles ago, to be exact. The only legs trembling Wednesday were those of opposing batters. Capozucca gave up just one run on four hits and struck out seven to lead No. 1 Poly Prep to a 6−1 win against No. 3 Rye Country Day in the NYSAISAA championship at Columbia University.
It was the Blue Devils’ fourth straight title, all of them coming with Capozucca, now a junior, throwing. No softball team had ever won four in a row in the history of the tournament.
“That’s really nice,” the windmiller said. “We have names that people are going to be talking about for awhile.”
For all the winning Capozucca has done, she has never let it go to her head, Piscopo said. The Blue Devils went 15−0 this year in league play and, with her in the circle, rarely lose league games.
“What I admire about her is that she doesn’t take anything for granted,” Piscopo said. “She never expects it to come easy. You could sometimes lose your focus and intensity, but she doesn’t.”
For awhile, Capozucca had to pitch in a tight game. In the third, Krista Wojcik drove in Stephanie Caso from third after a triple and Erica Sollazzo followed with a hit off starter Jolie Berke. Capozucca drove in Wojcik with an infield single and Sollazzo followed on a poor fielding decision by Rye (10−4) to make it 3−0. The Wildcats scratched across a run in the fourth, though, on an RBI single by Anna Whitehouse.
The Blue Devils didn’t blow it open until the sixth when they played a little small ball. After a Sollazzo double and Capozucca single, Rachel Sloane laid down a perfect suicide squeeze to score Sollazzo from third. Katie Kirker followed with another squeeze to drive home Capozucca and Julia Superka singled in Sloane to make it 6−1.
“I think it took a lot of wind out of their sails,” said Caso, who will play at the University of Pennsylvania next year. “That ruffled them up a little bit.”
Capozucca did the rest. The final out, fittingly, went to Caso, the team’s star, who made an easy throw over to Kirker at first. It was a much simpler play than she is used to making at short, but it served its purpose.
“In my eyes, it’s a perfect season,” Caso said. “There’s nothing more you could ask for.”