Gabby Marcheschi knows her team like the palm of her hand.

She was confident that St. Anthony's was capable of winning a state championship, confident that she was capable of leading the Friars to it. In fact, it was written on the palm of her hand.

"My [assistant] coach wrote the word 'confidence' on my hand," Marcheschi said. "She told me I'm the best and to think that when I'm pitching to make me even more confident."

Marcheschi and her teammates nearly had the Friars' first softball state championship plaque in the palms of their hands, but they came up just short Tuesday, falling to Archbishop Molloy, 3-1, in the CHSAA state championship game at Hofstra.

"We couldn't get it done, but at least we came in second," Kim Puzo said. "We tried our hardest and that's all you can ask for."

With the Friars trailing 1-0 in the fifth, Lexi Reale hit a two-out double down the leftfield line and scored on Puzo's chopper up the middle to pull St. Anthony's even at 1.

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But in the top of the sixth, Jamie Durso hit a two-out double to the wall in left to drive in two runs and give Molloy a 3-1 lead.

Alyssa Delaney led off the bottom of the seventh with a single for St. Anthony's. But the Friars, who left eight runners on bases, failed to deliver the timely hit.

"We were making contact. We just didn't find that hole or that gap we needed," St. Anthony's coach Mike Massa said. "To win these things, you need to get the big hit at the right time, and we did it all season."

They did it earlier in the day when they exploded for 13 hits in a 9-4 semifinal win over St. Mary's Lancaster. Reale went 4-for-4, Marcheschi was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Gabby Puglia went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Marcheschi tossed five innings, allowing one run, three hits and no walks with nine strikeouts before resting her arm for the title game. She tossed seven innings in that game, allowing six hits and two walks.

Marcheschi, Puzo and Shannon Forman, the only starters who won't be returning, may have fallen short of a state title, but they leave knowing they guided the Friars to the best season in program history.

"It would have been great if we did win this because we all worked our butts off to get here," Marcheschi said. "But I'm definitely really happy with how far we have come. They are going to be great next season and they will get back here."

She's confident about that.