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Bklyn softball: On target

Consider 2009 a Brooklyn softball renaissance.

Traditionally in the CHSAA, Queens teams rule the day once the playoffs start. But not this season. St. Edmund, which had its best season in a long time, pushed powerhouse St. Francis Prep to the brink in the quarterfinals. Kearney, which won its first division title since 2004 almost knocked out SFP in the semifinals, too. Fontbonne finished second in the division and boasted two of the best players in the city: Corine Fitzgibbons and Ashley Schirripa.

In the PSAL, Madison almost became the first Brooklyn team since 2003 (Midwood) to win the Class A city title. The Knights were ahead, 2−1, going into the sixth inning, but Tottenville rallied to win, 4−2.

In private school action, Poly Prep took home its fourth straight Ivy League title and won an unprecedented fourth consecutive NYSAISAA title.

All in all it was a tremendous season for the borough.

BROOKLYN

SOFTBALL PLAYER

OF THE YEAR

P Kayla Hill,

James Madison

Cool, calm, collected and armed with electric stuff, Hill sure didn’t look like a sophomore this season. She built on an impressive freshman campaign and emerged as one of the best pitchers in New York City. The right−hander led Madison to the PSAL Class A city championship against Tottenville, where the Knights lost, 4−2, in what was one of the Pirates’ closest games of the season.

In the regular season, Hill was 8−0 with a paper−thin 0.34 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched. She allowed just 10 hits and four walks. But call Hill just a pitcher would be missing all of her greatness. She was also one of the best hitters in the city, batting .593 with a .629 on−base percentage and an .889 slugging in PSAL games.

BROOKLYN SOFTBALL COACH OF THE YEAR

Bill Dumont,

James Madison

Sure, Madison had a ton of talent, a plethora of travel ball players that a coach covets. But the Knights were super young this season. They didn’t have a senior on the roster and they relied on two freshman hitters in the middle of the order (Gina Gerone and Samantha Rodriguez) and sophomore Kayla Hill as their ace. Dumont put together a brutal schedule to get his team ready for the playoffs and it worked. Madison made it all the way to the PSAL Class A city championship game.

ALL−BROOKLYN FIRST TEAM

P Victoria Capozucca, Poly Prep

This is all you need to know about Capozucca: Poly Prep has won the NYSAISAA title every single season the junior has been on the team, including when she was in eighth grade. The Blue Devils have won four of those in a row and Capozucca was in the circle for every single one of them. Her best performance this year might have come against Tottenville, the city’s best team. In a non−league game, she gave up two runs, none earned, on four hits and struck out 11 against the Pirates.

SS Stephanie Caso,

Poly Prep

With her limitless range and acrobatic snares, Caso made even the toughest plays look almost routine. Defensively, there wasn’t a shortstop in New York City that could match her. That’s not the only reason she’ll be playing softball next year at the University of Pennsylvania, either. Caso is a great leadoff hitter, is always on base and has great speed. She has been the undisputed leader of Poly Prep’s best core group ever.

P Tiffany Irrera,

Bishop Kearney

Kearney won its first Brooklyn division title since 2004 and Irrera was a big reason why. The crafty junior windmiller uses a multitude of pitches and speeds to surrender just two runs in the team’s four games against rivals Fontbonne Hall and St. Edmund Prep, en route to an undefeated regular season. She was one of the Tigers’ key bats as well and will keep them in contention for the division title again next season.

P Emma Ferrington,

St. Edmund

Ferrington emerged as one of Brooklyn’s best and most consistent pitchers, helping the Eagles to their best season in recent memory. The junior has excellent velocity and superb command. After being in bed sick with a fever the day prior, Ferrington tossed a gem in a 1−0 loss to St. Francis Prep in the CHSAA Brooklyn⁄Queens quarterfinals. She could make the Eagles the division favorite next season.

SS Corine Fitzgibbons, Fontbonne Hall

Fontbonne coach Frank Marinello consistently called Fitzgibbons the “best player in the borough.” She certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s hard to find a more complete player. The Polytechnic−bound senior is an extra−base hit waiting to happen at the plate, something that kept outfields deep. She was a sure fielder at short and the team’s unquestioned leader.

SS Gina Gerone, James Madison

Freshmen are not supposed to play like Gerone did this season. She was excellent in the regular season, but in the playoffs, when the pitching got better, Gerone thrived. There was no better postseason hitter in the city. She was 13−for−18 with a home run, a triple, two doubles, 12 RBIs and nine runs scored in five games. In the final against Alyssa Corvino, arguably the best pitcher in the city, she was 2−for−3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Look out for Gerone the next three years.

SS Millicia Malvasio, Bishop Kearney

You may not find a tougher player than Malvasio. The senior played most of the year with a broken nose she suffered hanging in on a play at second and wore a catcher’s mask in the field. Any ball hit near her at short was an out because of her sure glove and strong arm. Malvasio, a vocal leader, was a rally starter at the top of the order with her speed on the bases and her ability to make contact.

CF Brittany O’Brien, James Madison

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