History was made this softball season.
St. Joseph by the Sea started it off by winning its first CHSAA state title since 2000 by beating Archbishop Molloy. Then, James Madison took the ball and ran with it. The Knights shocked six-time defending champion Tottenville in the PSAL Class A city title game by coming back twice for the program’s first crown.
Madison became the first Brooklyn team since Midwood in 2003 to win a PSAL title and Sea was the first New York City team in three years to hold up the CHSAA state championship trophy. It was just that kind of season.
Player of the Year: Kayla Hill,
All you have to do is look at her stat line in the final two games of the season to see why Hill is so special. In the PSAL Class A semifinals and final, the junior gave up two runs, none earned, on 10 hits and struck out 12 in 15 innings.
“When she’s on the mound, we know we’re in good hands,” coach Jeff Meltzer said.
Hill was on the mound as Madison won its first PSAL city title, ending Tottenville’s string of six straight championships. She also broke up Pirates ace Nicole Palase’s no-hitter in the final and was one of the Knights’ best hitters all season. Hill will always be remembered as the pitcher who thwarted the Tottenville dynasty.
“I keep replaying it in my head over and over again,” Hill said afterward. “I get excited thinking about it.”
Coach of the Year:
Jeff Meltzer, James Madison
Almost two decades ago, Meltzer stepped down as softball coach at Madison after five years and became the school’s boys basketball coach for 18 seasons. Ironically enough, his only city title came this spring in a sport he never expected to be coaching again.
When longtime coach Bill Dumont left Madison to take the head coaching job at Brooklyn College and his would-be replacement stepped down abruptly, Meltzer came out of retirement. Though he was guiding a team that had every player returning from a PSAL Class A city title game appearance in 2009, there were critics who said he couldn’t get the most out of the Knights. Meltzer proved them wrong when Madison beat six-time defending champion Tottenville in the city championship.
“The one thing that satisfies me,” he said, “was that I was able to get the girls to go where they wanted to go.”
ALL-CITY FIRST TEAM
P Amanda Barrese,
St. Joseph by the Sea
The senior pitched out of the two biggest jams of her career in the seventh inning of the CHSAA state semifinal and title games. She threw to a sub-1.00 ERA by pitching to contact and rarely allowing a walk.
CF Jackie Bonamassa,
St. Joseph by the Sea
The prototypical leadoff hitter beat teams with her legs as well as her bat. A bunt single was often as good as a triple for Bonamassa, who did just that to get the Vikings on the board in the CHSAA state final.
P Victoria Capozucca,
The senior graduates as the most decorated pitcher in New York City. When she pitched Poly Prep to the NYSAISAA title this season, it was her and the Blue Devils’ fifth straight.
2B Lisa Cutrona,
She was very hard to keep off base as Tottenville’s No. 3 hitter. The three-year starter at second base helped lead the Pirates back to the PSAL Class A city title game.
3B Jackie Kelly,
St. Joseph by the Sea
There may not be a more complete position player in the city. The junior can dominate a game with her defense at third and is a run producer at the plate. She helped lead Sea to the CHSAA state crown.
CF Victoria McFarland,
Her fearlessness and incredible range in the outfield would have overshadowed her offense if McFarland wasn’t one of the best hitters in New York City. The junior is an early Player of the Year candidate for 2011.
P Nicole Palase,
It was the junior’s first season as Tottenville’s ace, but you wouldn’t know it. Palase was dominant in leading the Pirates to the PSAL Class A city title game, was also arguably their most productive hitter and incredible defensively.
1B Nikki Panaro,
The senior changed history with one mighty swing. Panaro’s home run in the seventh inning drew Madison even with Tottenville in the seventh inning of the PSAL Class A city title game – which the Knights went on to win.
P Maria Palmeri,
Palmeri had the breakout season most expected. The sophomore was the Stanners’ most feared hitter, with a couple of monstrous homers to her credit, and a dominant strikeout pitcher in the circle.
SS Nelyssa Rosario,
The PSAL Wingate winner accomplished so much this year. The Concordia-bound Rosario was RKA’s top hitter and fielder, leading the Tigers to a share of the division crown for the first time and to the PSAL Class A quarterfinals in only their second season in the ‘A’ league.
ALL-CITY SECOND TEAM
C Sammi Lou Anastasio, St. Joseph by the Sea
The Philadelphia Science-bound senior was one of the city’s best and most fundamentally sound catchers. She provided incredible leadership behind the plate. Anastasio homered twice and rival Moore Catholic and hit .406 with 11 RBIs in league play.
P Amanda Annicaro, Cardozo
The Judges were unspectacular while she was sidelined with an illness early in the season. When the senior ace came back, Cardozo exploded for 10 straight wins and a second consecutive run to the PSAL Class A semifinals.
SS Lauren DelPrete, Horace Mann
She didn’t play in high school until this season, but my what an impact she made on Horace Mann. She was the Lions’ best power hitter and a major reason why they went from Ivy League also-ran to NYSAISAA finalist.
2B Caitlyn Ganley, James Madison
Ganley didn’t get the recognition that teammates Kayla Hill, Gina Gerone and Brittany O’Brien did. All she did was produce at the plate with a ridiculous .667 average in the regular season.
SS Gina Gerone, James Madison
Whether it was hitting for power, average or playing outstanding defense, it was hard not to be impressed with Gerone – especially since she was only a sophomore. She was a main cog in the middle of the order as Madison won its first PSAL city title.
P Victoria Goldbach, Archbishop Molloy
The sophomore went from No. 2 starter to co-ace with Maria Palmeri as the games grew more imporant. She dominated some of the city’s best orders with a superb changeup. Goldbach helped pitch Molloy to another Brooklyn/Queens title and to the CHSAA state final.
P Emily Horihan, Moore Catholic
The senior wasn’t overpowering, but certainly effective. Horihan used excellent movement and location to help keep lineups like St. Joseph by the Sea’s at bay. Horihan was also one of the Mavericks’ top hitters with a cool .500 average.
CF Danielle Locke, Susan Wagner
Last year, Locke was your prototypical leadoff hitter, who had great speed and made solid contact. Now, the junior has evolved into an extra-base hit waiting to happen and her range in center field is uncanny.
SS Kate Miller, Fieldston
There may not be a more polished young player in the city. The sophomore, who carries herself like a seasoned senior, is uncanny with runners in scoring position. Miller sprays line drives all over the field and gobbles everything up at short.
CF Brittany O’Brien, James Madison
One of the best leadoff hitters in the city, O’Brien could slap or bunt her way on base and also drive the ball if asked. The senior’s speed and superb defense in center field made her fun to watch.
ALL-CITY HONORABLE MENTION
P Olivia Auman, Christ the King
SS Taylor Baggs, Moore Catholic
P Katie Derby, St. Francis Prep
P Emma Ferrington, St. Edmund
CF Briana Franceschini, St. Francis Prep
SS Tara Gallo, Tottenville
3B Janelle Garvey, St. Edmund
1B Laura Leone, St. Joseph by the Sea
3B Samantha Mattsson, Tottenville
3B Laura Montalto, Preston
P Alex Sappington, LaGuardia
P Taylor Sarcone, Susan Wagner
P/SS Brittany Smith, St. John Villa
SS Erica Sollazzo, Poly Prep
SS Sandy Tomasik, Cardozo