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High School Softball: Sacred Heart too tough for Immaculata in MMAA semis

Molly Hennessy (right) and Kathryn Holloran celebrate better times during a regular season win over Frontier. Hennessy hit two home runs in that win. (Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)
The Immaculata Bears' season came to an end on Tuesday (May 21) afternoon at the hands of heavily-favored top-seed Sacred Heart Academy 11-2 in the Monsignor Martin semifinals at Sunshine Park in West Seneca.

The Sharks have not lost to a Monsignor Martin League opponent in two years, compiling a perfect 25-0 mark, but it appeared that record would be in jeopardy early on in this contest as the fourth-seeded Bears led 2-1 after four innings.

Immaculata put up two hits and two runs in the fourth as pitcher Molly Hennessy singled and moved to second on a Julia Lalka bunt. Third basemen Katherine Halloran followed that up with a double, scoring pinch runner Abby Widger. Halloran would go on to score herself when Bridgit Giles hit a pop fly that was mishandled Sacred Heart.

Sacred Heart got the bats going during the 5th and 6th innings scoring 10 runs on a total of nine hits. During that span Sharks Center Fielder Kelly Farrell hit both a two-run homer and a two-run triple to left. Sacred Heart pitcher Maria Gabrielle also had a stellar game going 3 for 4 at the plate. On the mound, she threw a three-hitter, including eight strikeouts.

“With youth comes the up and down season; we had some great games and some great wins and then we had some games that we certainly should have won but didn’t with errors and lack of hitting, but that comes with youth, when they get older and stronger and wiser we’ll do great,” said Immaculata head coach Ray Hennessy, whose team consisted of four sophomores, four freshmen and only two seniors.

There were a few controversial calls in the first few innings that wound up going in favor of Sacred Heart and may have changed the momentum of the game.

“We had a little rally going, but instead of getting the right call we end up getting an out and losing some momentum,” Hennessy noted. “Certainly with the final score I don’t want to put that on the umpires, but it certainly changes the momentum early.”

With the victory, Sacred Heart goes on to face Nichols for the Monsignor Martin softball championship on May 22. Sacred Heart head coach Karen Conway said she tries not to stress to her team the streak, because of the extreme pressure it puts on her players.

“If the seasons over when the season’s over, if it ends tomorrow (in the finals) or if we do live to see past tomorrow, I will say to them congratulations, because that’s 26 games in a row — it’s 25 today, and that’s hard to do,” she said.

Immaculata advanced to the semifinals with a 4-2 win over fifth-seeded St. Mary’s on May 18.

The Bears ended their regular season with a 12-9 win over neighborhood rival Frontier. Hennessy clubbed two home runs and racked up six RBIs on three hits in the win. Julia Lalka also homered in the seventh inning.

In an 8-7 loss to Dunkirk in the final week of the regulars season, Sadie Chentfant reached base four times and homered. She scored one run and had two RBI. Cortney Carroccia also recorded a two-run single.

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