When Poly Prep scored three runs against Horace Mann in the top of the first inning, it looked like things would be business as usual for the defending NYSAISAA champions. However, in the bottom of the inning, things got intriguing for the Blue Devils and their ace pitcher Victoria Capozucca.
While trying to field a leadoff bunt, Capozucca collided with catcher Katherine Greissman. Her left shoulder got the worst of the collision, and went numb immediately afterward. Bothered by the shoulder, Capozucca later gave up a two-run home run to Horace Mann’s Lauren DelPrete before getting out of the inning.
Capozucca came back out for the second determined to reprise her previous performance — and she did just that. Evidently, a glove-hand shoulder isn’t all that important in softball, because Capozucca finished the game with 11 strikeouts, and the Blue Devils cruised to a 9-2 victory on May 14 in Ivy League softball in Riverdale.
The home run was apparently enough to fire up the ladies from Poly Prep.
“I think they got up for the challenge,” Poly Prep coach Mildred Piscopo said. “I think it’s important for them to be challenged. Over these past four years (the Blue Devils have won four straight Ivy League titles), we try to schedule schools, public and private, that will give us a good game.”
Piscopo’s strategy has bred a competitive spirit within her team. Today, the fire came from her pitcher.
“I could see the intensity in her face after the ball was hit,” Piscopo said. “She was mad that she gave it up.”
Capozucca insisted that she wasn’t bothered by the shot.
“I was mad that I gave it up,” Capozucca said. “But it was an amazing hit. It isn’t like I threw a bad pitch. I threw a drop curveball, but she got on it and turned on it.”
Horace Mann is one of the few teams in the Ivy League that continuously challenges Poly Prep. In the two teams’ last meeting, Capozucca needed to pitch a complete-game shutout to get past the Lions, 1-0. After the homer, it looked like Poly Prep would be challenged by the Lions once again, and this time with its starting pitcher at less than 100 percent.
The senior, who will play next year at Division III Ursinas College (Penn.), dominated Horace Mann for the rest of the game. The Lions got one runner to third base, but no one in maroon would cross the plate the rest of the afternoon.
Capozucca didn’t do anything special against the Lions; she said after the game that with her shoulder in pain, she was simply trying to get the ball over the plate.
The next day, Capozucca wasn’t sure if she would be able to pitch following her injury.
As it turned out, the only thing that didn’t happen was Hackley getting a hit. Capozucca twirled a no-hitter for Poly Prep in a 10-0 win that gives the Blue Devils their fifth straight undefeated Ivy League season.
The hitting stars for Poly Prep were Katy Kirker and Erica Sollazzo for the second straight day.