She’s been a corner infielder, a utility player, a shortstop and the co-ace of the pitching staff. Maria Palmeri has played multiple positions, but there’s been one constant in her four years on the Archbishop Molloy varsity softball team.
She’s a winner.
“She’s an outstanding player and what makes her so great is she’ll play wherever you put her and she’ll play like a star wherever you put her,” Stanners coach Maureen Rosenbaum said.
On Sunday, Palmeri added to her remarkable resume by helping guide Molloy to a fourth straight Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan title, beating St. Francis Prep, 7-5, at Queens College to sweep the three-game series, 2-0.
“The first one is always going to be my biggest memory because I was a freshman on varsity,” Palmeri said. “But this is the completion.”
The C.W. Post-bound senior struggled with her command in the circle – she gave up five runs and walked five in three innings – but she made up for it at the plate. Palmeri went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and two runs scored.
Capturing a fourth straight B/Q title was huge for Palmeri, even if she didn’t verbalize it.
“She hasn’t talked about it, but she doesn’t have to because I know it means a lot to her just by the way she plays,” Taylor Moss said.
Moss, who had the game-winning hit in Game 1 Wednesday, had a monster day at the plate, too, going 4-for-4 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored.
“My goal today was to stay patient and make sure I saw the ball well,” Moss said.
She wasn’t the only one. The middle of Molloy’s lineup – the core hitters as the Stanners call them – had 10 of their team’s 13 hits.
“It really gives us all our runs,” pitcher Tori Goldbach said. “If we can get our leadoff and second batter on, we can almost guarantee we’re going to drive one of them in.”
With her team trailing St. Francis Prep, 5-2, Goldbach did a spectacular job out of the bullpen in 4-1/3 innings of scoreless relief. She struck out two and allowed just two hits, halting the Terriers momentum.
“My hope was if Tori does what she’s been doing and keeping the score down and keep us in the game and we would come back again,” Molloy coach Maureen Rosenbaum said. “Luckily it happened.”
After cutting its deficit to 5-3 in the fourth, Molloy (13-2), ranked No. 5 in New York City by MSG Varsity, erupted for four runs in the sixth. Palmeri and Moss each had RBI singles and Terriers pitcher Nicole Lomangino issued back-to-back bases-loaded walks.
One inning later, it was over and the Stanners were celebrating yet another Brooklyn/Queens title and an 11th consecutive victory against St. Francis Prep, which fell to 9-6. They now focus on trying to win the CHSAA state championship for a second straight year.
First up, though, is a clash with Archdiocesan champions St. Joseph by the Sea, a team these Stanners have never beaten, in the semifinals Tuesday afternoon at Kellenberg.
“All we want to do is beat St. Joe’s by the Sea,” Goldbach said. “We’ve wanted to for four years and this is our chance, our last shot to do it. We really want to beat them and I think we can if we keep playing like we are.”
The winner meets either Kellenberg or Sacred Heart (Buffalo) in the final Tuesday at Hofstra. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
“I’d like to think we’re peaking now because we haven’t really peaked this year,” Rosenbaum said. “Hopefully we take the adrenaline from today’s game into Tuesday.”
Contact Dylan Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter: @Dylan_Butler