Casey Steinert exults after HR in semifinal win on Friday before Friars...

Casey Steinert exults after HR in semifinal win on Friday before Friars completed 25-0 season on May 23, 2024. Credit: David Meisenholder

For six St. Anthony’s seniors, their last game together would be a chance at a third consecutive state CHSAA softball championship (and fourth straight for the program).

The Friars scored five runs in the first inning and defeated St. Mary’s (Lancaster), 9-0, in five innings in the state CHSAA final at St. John’s on Friday afternoon.

St. Anthony’s (25-0) completed its first perfect season and notched its 37th straight win dating to last season.

“There’s always pressure, not just on the seniors but the entire team,” Ava Vandernoth said. “Because of the program’s success, everyone expects us to win. But we play our game and we did that today and it got us the win.”

Senior Valentina Iula singled with the bases loaded in the first inning to drive in the first two runs of the game. Senior Jackie Morra scored on a wild pitch, Casey Steinert drew a walk with the bases loaded and Sophia Lee drove in a run with a fielder’s choice as St. Anthony’s grabbed a 5-0 lead.

Juli Murillo doubled in the third to drive in two runs, extending St. Anthony’s lead to 8-0. Senior Mila Fiordalisi allowed two hits to St. Mary’s (14-7) in five innings and picked up her 21st win of the season.

“We have a lot of rituals we do before the game,” Fiordalisi said. “This morning we’re talking about how it could be the last time, and this time after the second game, it really was.”

Earlier in the day, St. Anthony’s defeated St. Joseph Sea, 7-1, in the semifinals at Queens College.

St. Joseph Sea (16-3) grabbed a 1-0 lead when Caitlin McTiernan doubled in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Bella Cruz’s RBI single and Morra’s two-out, two-run single gave St. Anthony’s a 3-1 lead in the fifth.

“After the first run came in, it lit a fire under us,” Fiordalisi said. “We didn’t want to let the opportunity slip. We wanted to play to the last second. We did everything we could to make this last as long as possible.”

Seniors Vandernoth and Steinert hit solo home runs in the sixth as the Friars took a 5-1 lead.

“I hadn’t played well the last few games, so I’m just looking to make good contact,” Vandernoth said. “I thought I popped it up, but I managed to get some good bat on the ball.”

The senior core for St. Anthony’s exits with three state championships.

“This was an extremely special group,” coach Mike Massa said. “I don’t know if we’ll see anything like this again.”


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