Raise your hand if you think this year's state title was sweeter than last year's.
The poll results were unanimous. In unison, the members of the Kellenberg softball team raised their arms into the air. That included the most important arm of all, that of Sabrina DeAngelis, who pitched both ends of a doubleheader Wednesday.
She threw a no-hitter in the CHSAA state semifinal, then in the championship game, didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning to lead Kellenberg to an 8-2 win over Fontbonne as the Firebirds captured their second consecutive state title.
So, last year's state title may have been the program's first, but yesterday's was the sweetest.
"The second one is much better," said DeAngelis, who allowed two runs, five hits and three walks with five strikeouts. "We couldn't be perfect like last year and we fought so hard to get here. I couldn't have asked for a better ending."
Last year's team went 29-0. This year, Kellenberg (22-4) came out of the loser's bracket to win three straight do-or-die games to advance to the state tournament.
Stephanie Staiano opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first to score Krista King, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI.
DeAngelis allowed her first hit of the day on a lead off bloop single to center in the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, she struck out the next two batters to protect Kellenberg's 1-0 lead.
Amy Quinn, who went 3-for-3, hit an RBI double in the fifth and senior Amanda Crimarco capped the inning with a three-run single to give Kellenberg a 5-0 lead.
"It's so exciting to go out as state champions," Crimarco said, "and be remembered like that."
Added Quinn: "It's amazing. There are no words."
In Kellenberg's 3-0 semifinal win over St. Joseph-by-the-Sea, DeAngelis struck out five and allowed one baserunner, who was hit by a pitch and negated on a double play. Staiano and Amanda Coletta each drove in a run.
"Even though we are leaving, the legacy will last forever," Staiano said of the repeat. "This will never be forgotten."
Raise your hand if you agree.