Pardo-n the interruption, but this is an announcement that Kellenberg softball has been waiting 25 years to hear: The Firebirds are state champions.
Susan Pardo tossed a pair of shutouts in a doubleheader Tuesday, the second of which led Kellenberg to a 5-0 win over defending champion Molloy (Queens) at Hofstra University as the Firebirds completed an undefeated season at 29-0 and captured their first state CHSAA championship in school history.
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"I emptied everything in the tank," Pardo said. "There is nothing left. But these moments, you have to dig down deep and pull out everything you have."
Pardo, who last week was named CHSAA Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season, followed up the one-hitter she tossed in a 2-0 semifinal win Tuesday over Sacred Heart Academy (Buffalo), by allowing two hits and two walks and struck out 15 batters in the final, including the side in the seventh to end the game.
After an infield single by Krista King and bunt single by Alexandra Mancini to start the bottom of the third, Allie Pisciotta singled to right to bring home King for a 1-0 lead. Stephanie Staiano followed with a single to left to bring home Mancini.
Staiano singled again in the fifth to score two more runs and give Kellenberg a 4-0 lead.
"We practiced so hard to make our offense as strong as our defense," Staiano said. "We deserved this and we got it."
Mancini, who went 2-for-4, singled to center in the sixth to tack on another run.
In the semifinal game, Pardo allowed only a single to the game's first batter and struck out 11. After singles by Pisciotta and Amanda Crimarco in the sixth, Sabrina DeAngelis hit a hard grounder to second and pinch runner Lindsey Wiese slid home safely on the play at the plate to take a 1-0 lead. Crimarco then came around to score on a throwing error.
The final two wins provided the perfect ending to Kellenberg's perfect season.
"This means so much to our school," Pisciotta said. "We've never done this before. To go through an entire season undefeated and bring home a state championship is phenomenal."