Fantastic seasons are to be expected from the St. Anthony's softball program at this point, but the 2022 season was so dominant, it may have been a step above what most envisioned.
The Friars collected 24 wins under head coach Mike Massa, giving this group the record for most wins in a season in school history. They culminated their season with their fifth consecutive CHSAA championship and their second consecutive state title.
“We hit, we play good defense, we had pitching depth,” Massa said. “We knew we were a team everyone was hunting, but we had all the necessary ingredients for success.”
St. Anthony's tossed a 12-0 shutout over Archbishop Molloy in the state semifinal and finished the day off with a 10-1 win over St. Mary’s of Lancaster in the final. Those run totals for the opposition were commonplace for a dominant pitching staff. CHSAA pitcher of the year Mila Fiordalisi and Lia Fong anchored a group that tallied 15 shutouts.
Massa described Fiordalisi as a “power pitcher” and Fong as more of a pitcher using “movement and spins”. It’s hard enough to beat one of them, but Massa occasionally deploys both in the same game, something he did to close out the state final. Fong pitched the first five innings and struck out seven. Then Fiordalisi closed it out.
“I feel confident putting either one of them out there at any given point,” Massa said. “Both of them could really respond whenever called and we even had some other girls [Skylar Wicklund and Sarah Bielski] who picked up shutouts.”
Whether they need it or not, that duo gets plenty of support from a deep lineup that can swing the bats and track down any ball on defense.
“We have depth and we’re versatile. Anyone of those girls in the lineup was capable of having a big day,” coach Massa said. “We even have plenty of girls on the bench who can play."
Bielski, a freshman, drove in five runs in the semifinal win over Archbishop Molloy. She then hit a single to score the game’s first run in the final and launched a two-run home run to cap off her day.
“It was a great experience. Those were probably my two best games of the season,” Bielski said. “I performed pretty well, made some great contact and was able to knock in a bunch of RBIs.”
With a roster that featured six sophomores and three freshmen, don’t be surprised to see St. Anthony’s three-peat as state champs next season.
“Our team is full of young talented players, so I think we’re going to do really well in the future,” Bielski said. “I hope we keep this streak going, I think we’ll be able to win again next year.”
Road to the State Championship
NSCHSAA Playoffs – Seeded No. 1
Semifinal Game 1: Def. St. John the Baptist, 10-1
Semifinal Game 2: Def. Sacred Heart, 5-2
Championship: Def. Kellenberg, 5-3
CHSAA State Championship
Semifinal: Def. Archbishop Molloy, 12-0
Final: Def. St. Mary’s Lancaster, 10-1