Victoria Capozucca didn’t like what she was hearing during a meeting in the circle. Poly Prep coach Mildred Piscopo huddled with her team to talk about how to deal with Fieldston star Kate Miller with runners on first and third and no outs and the Blue Devils up five runs in the bottom of the sixth.
“In that situation I told her to pitch around her,” said Piscopo, who also recommended curve balls up and away. “I would sooner have her on first and the bases loaded and have a force situation than have her get a big hit and drive two runs in.”
Capozucca had a different idea. She wanted to attack Miller, who had already tripled, with her screwball instead. The windmiller fell behind 2-0, but came back to strike out the Eagles shortstop, who has hit her well in the past and allowed just one run in the inning. It highlighted a stellar afternoon for Capozucca.
She allowed four hits, struck out 12 and walked just three in Poly’s 5-1 win over the host Eagles in Ivy League softball on April 14. She struck out the side in the seventh to strand two more runners. Fieldston (1-1) got its rally started in the sixth with two bunt singles.
“I knew that she wouldn’t be able to hit my screwball,” said Capozucca, who also struck out Miller with a runner on second in the fourth. “I was like, ‘Pisc I got it. Let me throw the screwball.’”
Added shortstop Erica Sollazzo: “She is at our best in those situations when it is time to bear down.”
Sollazzo, a fellow senior, helped stake Poly a 5-0 lead after four and half innings. She smoked a ball to left field in the first that got behind left fielder Claudia Fioluca after she misjudged the ball to score both her and Christie Wojeik. She then singled home a run in the third and Katherine Greissman added an RBI single. Sollazzo later dunked a single past a diving Miller at short to make it 5-0 in the fourth.
“Whenever we are in a time of need she is always going to get us through it,” Capozucca said. “She hits the ball like crazy.”
One cause for concern for Piscopo was her team’s inability to tack on runs to make things more comfortable. It scored four runs off Fieldston starter Lee Berstein, with help from some defensive miscues, but managed a run on four hits over four innings against reliever Emily Kling. She felt her team might have been too anxious.
“We sat on five runs,” Piscopo said. “[Then] all of sudden the momentum starts to change.”
The victory, though, is still an important one. The Eagles, along with Horace Mann, are considered the two biggest threats to Poly’s four-year reign over the Ivy League.
“It’s always nice to shut a team down,” Capozucca said. “And get a win when the other team is cheering against you.”