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Kellenberg Firebirds 8, Fontbonne Hall Bonnies 2

Fontbonne Hall ends historic season with loss in title game

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Fontbonne Hall Academy’s historic softball season came to an end when a screaming line drive in the Catholic league’s state championship game smacked ace pitcher Nicolette Trapani in her throwing hand.

Trapani was forced to leave the game in the sixth inning, with one out and defending champs, the Kellenberg Firebirds, up by five runs in what would be an 8–2 win.

“It came at me so hard I didn’t feel it [at first],” Trapani said. “I didn’t think it hit me that hard.”

Not that Trapani had been having a good game up until that point. A deep Kellenberg lineup and fatigue finally got to her as she pitched her second game of the day.

Early Wednesday afternoon, the Bonnies played Buffalo’s Nichols School in the semifinal round of the statewide Catholic High School League’s softball playoffs at Queens College.

In the semifinals, Trapani pitched a three hitter to beat Nichols 1–0. This sent Fontbonne Hall to its first title game ever.

However, the final game started just an hour after the first game finished, and the strain on Trapani’s arm began to show in the fourth inning. She said she had trouble with her control.

“In the fourth inning I felt it,” she said. “I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t hitting my spots as much.”

Down by just one run at the top of the fourth, Fontbonne had a chance to get even, or take the lead. The Bonnies had runners on first and second, with one out, after consecutive singles by Natalia Sroga and Kristina Mandala. But they were going against Kellenberg’s ace, Sabrina DeAngelis, who threw a no-hitter in the other semifinal game against St. Joseph by the Sea. Bonnies coach Frank Marinello let Trapani swing, instead of bunting, and the pitcher struck out.

Maria Gentile walked to load the bases, but Fontbonne couldn’t capitalize as the next batter struck out. The inning took an emotional toll.

“It sort of deflated us,” catcher Maria Serrantino said.

Marinello took the blame for not getting a run across. He felt he coached with his emotions, waiting for an extra base hit from Trapani instead of having her bunt to move the runners over. Then in the fifth inning, aided by a Fontbonne error, the Kellenberg Firebirds (22–4), broke open the 1–0 game, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring four runs on four hits

Fontbonne finally got on the board in the top of the six when Serrantino drove in Ariana Dillon and Christina Calascione with a double to right center to make it 5–2. It was her third RBI of the day. She had singled home the only run of the semifinals.

Fontbonne had ridden on Trapani’s right arm all year, especially during the playoffs. She threw more than 300 pitches over 23 innings in three games to help the Bonnies (13–4) win its first Brooklyn-Queens title. Trapani was dominant again in the state semifinals, allowing just five base runners and striking out 10.

“She’s been the workhorse,” Serrantino said. “She’s done everything for us. Without her we wouldn’t have gone this far”

After Trapani left the game, the final piece of the Bonnie’s historic season was not to be. Still, it was a memorable campaign by a team that brings back the bulk of its roster next season. They will look to defend their diocesan title and make another run at a state crown.

“We are not that little school on top of the hill any more,” Marinello said. “These kids made a name for themselves. Hopefully we keep it hear where its suppose to be.“

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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