Lexi Zaremba #10 of Kellenberg plates a run with a...

Lexi Zaremba #10 of Kellenberg plates a run with a single in the top of the first inning of the NSCHSAA softball championship against St. Anthony's at Hofstra on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Credit: James Escher

Kellenberg already had a lead, but the Firebirds had a golden opportunity to break the game open.

Enter Lexi Zaremba.

With two outs and the bases loaded, the sophomore leftfielder sent a fly ball deep down the leftfield line that dropped just inside the foul line for a bases-clearing double. It was the knockout blow in No. 2 Kellenberg’s 8-0 win in five innings over No. 3 Holy Trinity in the loser’s bracket final of the NSCHSAA softball playoffs Tuesday at Hofstra.

Kellenberg faced top-seeded St. Anthony’s for the league title 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game.

Zaremba’s big swing drove in Kaitlyn Larmann, Michaela Ressegger and Julia Maniscalco to give Kellenberg a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“Every at-bat counts and I knew we needed some more run support,” Zaremba said. “I had no idea if it was going to be fair, but when [first base coach Victoria Sindone] says run, I run.”

Kellenberg pitcher Molly Silecchia experienced a bit of deja vu.

The sophomore pitched a five-inning one-hitter with seven strikeouts. On the same field a year ago, Silecchia struck out seven and threw a no-hitter in a 2-0 win over Sacred Heart to advance to the final.

“Every day in practice, she outworks everybody on the team,” Kellenberg coach Ken Conrade said. “She just works and works because she wants to be the go-to person.”

Silecchia was wild early, walking two batters in the first inning. But once she settled in, she was dominant.

“I realized I can’t do it all by myself,” Silecchia said. “I need my teammates to help me and I know that they have my back in the field. I just had to trust myself and my teammates.”

Nicole Sinnona had the only hit for Holy Trinity, which finished 7-6.

Gianna Abbenda went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run, Presley Borne went 2-for-3 with a run and a stolen base and Maniscalco had an RBI and a run for Kellenberg (17-7). It’s an important win for Kellenberg’s future, as the Firebirds start just three seniors.

“It’s a good experience for us,” Conrade said. “They have to battle those internal demons of ‘Am I good enough?’ We preach to them that they are good enough, but it’s just a matter of them proving it to themselves and that happens by getting that experience.”

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