Kellenberg beats SJB, rolls to CHSAA softball championship
There is nothing to fear, but fear itself -- and Sabrina DeAngelis' curveball.
. . . and Krista King's speed, Amanda Crimarco's bat, Amy Quinn's glove, Stephanie Staiano's arm, and so on.
Kellenberg, the defending state champion, is frightening, and it doesn't get scared easily. The Firebirds reinforced that by adopting the motto "Fearless" when their dynasty was one loss away from ending this week.
But you didn't really think that would make Kellenberg shake in its spikes, did you?
"Each game could have been our last time on the field," DeAngelis said. "So we went out there and played with no fear."
There was nothing to be afraid of Wednesday as No. 2 Kellenberg captured its third straight CHSAA championship with an 11-3 win over No. 1 St. John the Baptist in the deciding game at Hofstra University. "I wouldn't have wanted to do this with any other group of girls," Staiano said.
The plan against SJB -- which beat them three times this season and snapped their 50-game league winning streak -- was to be fearless, but also shorten their swings and show patience.
King opened the scoring with a two-run single in the top of the second and DeAngelis (3-for-4) followed with a double to bring her home.
Kayla Kyff and Kelly Whalen each hit RBI singles in the bottom of the fourth to pull St. John within 3-2. King then made a leaping grab on a sharp liner to second to end the inning with runners on first and third.
Staiano (2-for-3) tripled in the fifth and Crimarco drove her in with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2. In the sixth, Amanda Coletta bunted home Lindsey Wiese, and Quinn tripled and scored on the overthrow. A five-run seventh broke it open.
"We never doubted ourselves," Crimarco said.
The loss ended a tremendous season for St. John the Baptist (15-4) and junior pitcher Sofia Evangelista, who was named CHSAA Pitcher of the Year.
Kellenberg (19-4) will play St. Joseph by-the-Sea at 5 p.m. on Tuesday in the CHSAA state semifinal at Queens College.
"We have to continue doing exactly what we've done the past few days," said Quinn, who went 3-for-4. "Be fearless."
DeAngelis allowed seven hits with three strikeouts in her third start in less than 24 hours.
"For the most part," she said, "we always had confidence that we would be standing right where we are now."
As fearless champions.