Fontbonne starter Bianca Marletta was dominant against Mary Louis everywhere but the scoreboard.
The senior struck out 10 and allowed just five hits in a complete-game effort. However four of those hits came in a four-run third inning for the Hilltoppers, and that one poor inning was enough to hand Marletta and the Bonnies in a 4–0 loss in Catholic Brooklyn-Queens softball at Cunningham Park on May 12. The win clinched the division crown for the Hilltoppers (5–3).
“My theory in life is, ‘snowflake, snowball, avalanche — avoid the avalanche,’ ” Fontbonne coach Frank Marinello said about the four-run third inning. “And we didn’t avoid the avalanche, it’s that simple.”
Otherwise, Marletta was nearly unhittable. She allowed only two hitters to reach base outside of the third, but the five that reached base in that inning ended up deciding the game.
After rolling through the first two frames, Marletta ran into her only trouble of the game in the third. With two outs and a runner on first base, she allowed a double to opposing pitcher Elizabeth Hanover that put Fontbonne in a 1–0 hole.
Marletta then walked a batter and faced Taylor Milata with runners on first and second with two outs. Milata lined one into the gap for a two-run double to give Mary Louis a 3–0 lead.
Sam Merino followed up with a single of her own to complete the four-run inning.
“I think I was just lagging behind pitches, and I went behind in the count, and I couldn’t come back,” Marletta said. “They were just hitting right in the gaps also, so it’s harder for the outfielders to get to. So we need to make adjustments too.”
Fontbonne was shut out, but its offense did threaten to score on a number of occasions — the team, however, could not seem to get the clutch hit to push any runs across.
There were runners on second and third and two outs in the top of the third when shortstop Natalie Lacognata grounded out to end the threat.
The Bonnies repeated the scenario an inning later with runners on second and third with two outs. But the team once again could not bring them home.
Right fielder Nicole Fallon lined out softly to end the rally, and from there the Bonnies wouldn’t threaten through the final three innings. They finished the game with just two more base runners from that point on.
“We’ve been a team that’s thrived with two outs and playing from behind all year,” Marinello said. “Today, it just didn’t happen. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen in the future, just today it didn’t happen.”
A win would have given Fontbonne (3–5) a chance to capture a Brooklyn-Queens softball regular-season division title, however the loss dropped them to third place after St. Francis Prep beat Molloy.
Even with the disappointing end to the regular season, the Bonnies still have hopes set high for the postseason.
“Double elimination, it’s up for grabs, season’s over,” Marinello said. “Everybody starts out 0–0.”