By: Tim Morris, News Transcript
The odds were stacked against the Brookdale Community College women’s softball team.
In order to be crowned the 2013 National Junior College Athletic Association Division III national champions, the Jersey Blues would have to win five games in one day — a Herculean task at best. That didn’t stop Bo Scannapieco’s team from trying.
The Jersey Blues were on the McQuillan Softball Complex field in Rochester, Minn. for 13 hours from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. They won three times to reach the championship game on May 18, when a well-rested Herkimer County Community College (New York) squad, which played just one game that day in the morning, was able to defeat the Jersey Blues, 5-2, and relegate Brookdale, ranked No. 1 in the country heading into the tournament, to national runner-up for the fifth time in Scannapieco’s stewardship. (He has won three times — 2002, 2005 and 2010.)
There may be no such thing as moral victories on the national stage, but the Jersey Blues’ effort was worthy of a champion. While describing the loss as “rough,” Scannapieco knew how much it took for his team to even get to the national title game.
“The effort was there,” he said. “The girls played hard. We didn’t get the results we wanted. We did everything we could.”
From the start, things were lining up against Brookdale. As No. 1 in the country, they were seeded No. 1 and opened play against No. 8 Dutchess Community College (17-2). The only problem with the seeding was that Dutchess, a two-loss team, was seeded below a 19-25 Anne Arundel Community College squad. The tougher opening round opponent made a difference in the way things played out. Brookdale, which flew out to Minnesota early in the morning on May 15, was on the field at 10 a.m. the next day and lost to Dutchess, 4-2, falling quickly into the loser’s bracket.
Herkimer, seeded No. 2, got Anne Arundel and cruised to a 12-1 victory.
Brookdale bounced back later on the first day to stay alive, beating St. Cloud Technical and Community College, 14-0.
The weather would then provide another obstacle for the Jersey Blues to overcome. The schedule on May 17 was washed out by rain, and all the remaining games were played on May 18. For Brookdale, it meant winning five games to be champion.
Brookdale would beat Rock Valley College, 8-6, Monroe Community College, 5- 3, and Dutchess in the rematch, 5-1, to reach the finals. There, because the tournament is double-elimination, Brookdale would have to beat Herkimer twice. It was unable to force the if necessary game, ending the 13- hour day with the 5-2 loss.
It wasn’t exhaustion that got to the Jersey Blues in the finals. They out-hit Herkimer, 9-7; they just didn’t string enough of those hits together. Catcher Kathleen Sharp was 3-4, while second baseman Keara Homan and first baseman Molly Carroll were both 2-4.
If there was any consolation for the Jersey Blues, it was that in going 59-5 this year, they established a new Division III single-season record for wins. Monroe had the old mark at 52. Brookdale’s previous best single-season total was 49, which it reached twice. Pitcher Sam Hosey, Bobbie Boehler and Sharp were selected to the All-Tournament Team from Brookdale. Boehler was also named the Outstanding Defensive Player of the tournament.
Hosey and fellow pitcher Carly Gleason, right fielder Courtney Paone, Boehler and Sharp were All-Region XIX First Team picks, with third baseman Allie Muratore and center fielder Cassidy Brzozowski named to the region Second Team.
In looking back on the season, Scannapieco said he was proud of the way his team handled the pressure of being No. 1 all season.
“You play everyday. We played nine double-headers in 11 days,” he said.
He complimented his sophomore class, noting that they won 108 games in their two seasons at Lincroft.
Many of the Jersey Blues enjoyed outstanding seasons. Sharp batted .448 with 82 RBIs and 71 runs scored. Carroll (.402) and Boehler (.457) each drove in 63 runs. Paone batted .467 with 98 hits and 82 runs scored. Brzozowski (.327) led the team in home runs with eight.
Hosey went 29-3 with a 1.06 ERA and 268 strikeouts in 192.2 innings. She completed 26 games.
Gleason was 24-3 with a 1.64 ERA. She worked 145.1 innings and fanned 156. She completed 23 starts.
Each pitcher had a save.