Whoever said that New York City doesn’t have softball talent, probably needs to see this list. It’s loaded with players going to Division I and II schools and littered with girls who will someday make that leap once their incredible high-school careers are over.
Tottenville, St. Joseph by the Sea and Poly Prep were 2009’s biggest winners. The Pirates took home their unprecedented sixth straight PSAL city title, St. Joseph by the Sea won the mythical CHSAA city title and Poly Prep snared its record fourth straight NYSAISAA. All those teams were burgeoning with stars. But there were plenty of others who also deserved their just due.
All-City Player Of The Year
Alyssa Corvino, Tottenville: There wasn’t a player more important or more valuable to her team this year than Corvino – and that’s saying something considering Tottenville’s depth and talent. But the UMBC-bound left-hander pitched the Pirates through everything, including a small hitting slump, to an undefeated record and an unprecedented sixth straight PSAL Class AA city championship.
Coach Cathy Morano raved all season about Corvino’s poise under pressure and there was plenty of it on her lithe shoulders. The senior held the Tottenville dynasty in her hands.
In the final, she came back from giving up two early runs, including one on her own illegal pitch, to shut down Madison long enough for the Pirates to come back and eventually prevail, 4-2. Her numbers – 8-0 with 0.33 ERA – were staggering. But they didn’t tell the whole story. Every time Corvino was in the circle, her teammates didn’t just think they would win. They knew it.
All-City Coach Of The Year
Bill Dumont, James Madison: Most coaches would call 2009 a rebuilding season for Madison. The Knights graduated four key players from last year’s team that went to the PSAL Class A final four. Coach Bill Dumont had to rely on two freshmen in the middle of the order and at key positions – shortstop Gina Gerone and catcher Samantha Rodriguez – and a sophomore (Kayla Hill) in the circle. Madison didn’t have a single senior on the roster.
The Knights could have been a year or two away. But they made this season a memorable one, guided by Dumont. Madison went undefeated in PSAL Brooklyn A and advanced all the way to the PSAL Class A championship game. The Knights were six outs away from their first championship, but Tottenville proved too strong – especially in the middle of the order. Nevertheless, it was an excellent campaign and Dumont contributed greatly to it.
All-City First Team
P Janelle Boyd, Archbishop Molloy: Boyd was a bulldog and as intimidating as they come on the mound with her impeccable control and drop ball. There may have been no better big-game pitcher in the CHSAA. The Cornell-bound senior beat rival St. Francis Prep four times, twice throwing no-hitters, and two of those wins came back-to-back in the Brooklyn/Queens final. Only Fontbonne Hall and St. Joseph by the Sea scored off her. She was in the cleanup spot in the Molloy order all season and usually did just that, especially early on.
P Victoria Capozucca, Poly Prep: Capozucca is a winner. She pitched Poly Prep to the NYSAISAA title as an eighth grader, a freshman, a sophomore and this year, too. The Blue Devils became the first team to ever win four straight NYSAISAA tournament championships. Capozucca, a power pitcher with control to boot, also shut down Tottenville and James Madison this season in losses. There’s no doubting her position as one of the city’s elite arms.
SS Stephanie Caso, Poly Prep: Caso is good as just about everything she tries her hand at. She’s a five-tool softball player – hits for average, hits for power, has great speed, a slick glove and a strong throwing arm – and is just as academically sound. She’ll play next year at Ivy League school Penn. Poly Prep is going to miss her. She has been the catalyst for this current run, which is arguably the best in program history.
C Ashley Corrao, Tottenville: Her spot on the first team is automatic – kind of like Corrao throwing out runners on the bases or hitting in big spots. There was no better catcher in New York City and the Dominican College-bound senior did it in every category. There’s no weakness in her game whatsoever. Corrao, a four-time city titlist, was at her best in the PSAL Class A championship when she crushed a home run 200 feet to center field and tied the game at 2 with a long, ringing double.
SS Corine Fitzgibbons, Fontbonne Hall: It will be tough to find a better combination of hitting, defense and vocal leadership in the CHSAA. As the Bonnies made their run to the Brooklyn/Queens semifinals Fitzgibbons, who hit over .500 this year, wore out her voice leading chants from the dugout and opposing pitchers as well. In three postseason games, the Polytechnic-bound senior drove in four runs, was 3-for-4 against St. Edmund in a tiebreaker and smacked a two-run homer versus Mary Louis in the quarterfinals. If she didn’t drive ball to the fence or pick it cleanly with her glove, it was certainly a surprise.
P Kayla Hill, James Madison: Nothing rattles Hill. A bomb could go off in short centerfield and the sophomore right-hander would still throw a strike. Hill was absolutely dominant with her electric stuff, pitching the Knights to the PSAL Class A city championship game. She pitched well against Tottenville in the final, but fell victim to the Pirates’ incredible middle of the order. There’s absolutely no shame in that – especially with two more excellent years upcoming.
3B Jackie Kelly, St. Joseph by the Sea: One of the reasons for Sea’s success was its sure handedness on defense and Kelly was a big part of that, manning the hot corner. She was part of one of the surest left sides of the infield in the city, one that turned special plays into routine ones. The sophomore, who possesses tremendous power, batted .533 with 18 RBIs in the regular season and came up with the biggest hit of the Vikings’ season. Her seventh inning walk-off double off Janelle Boyd sent them to the CHSAA state finals.
3B Jeanine Leo, Tottenville: Just call Jeanine Leo the Brooks Robinson of the PSAL. Her play at third base was beyond outstanding – she made everything seem so routine. There’s a reason why she and Ashley Corrao are the only two players to have won four straight PSAL Class A city titles. The Adelphi-bound Leo drove in what ended up being the winning run against Madison in the final and had an incredible snare of what looked to be a sure double off the bat of Kayla Hill.
1B Laura Leone, St. Joseph by the Sea: Leone was one of the most consistent bats in the city, even as a sophomore. Putting runners on in front of her was a no-no, especially during the postseason where she batted .500 with five RBI. That included a three-run homer against Moore Catholic that put the Archdiocesan championship game well out of reach. In the postseason, Leone hit everything hard, driving balls to the deepest part of the park at Sea. She was a sure glove at first base and is excellent on bunts and scooping throws.
P Ashley Schirripa, Fontbonne Hall: Schirripa was a workhorse for the Bonnies down the stretch, having to pitch four times in five days and finally tiring in a loss to Archbishop Molloy in the Brooklyn/Queens championship game. When she got into a groove, her rise ball was nearly unhittable and the strikeouts would start to mount. Fontbonne lost twice to Kearney, but it was no fault of Schrippa’s. The scores were 2-1 and 1-0 and she had two hits in each game, including a triple and a double. She was the Bonnies’ most consistent hitter throughout the year.
All-City Second Team
P Devyn Abbate, Preston: Abbate’s control was incredible. The senior could dance around the plate, putting the ball in unhittable spots. Abbate was the epitome of guts for Preston in the playoffs. She tossed a shutout against St. Joseph Hill in the Archdiocesan semifinals when she could barely breathe because of an upper respiratory infection. In most other cases, she would be near the top, because she is a solid contact hitter with a little pop and the ability to bunt.
CF Jackie Bonamassa, St. Joseph by the Sea: There may not be a more versatile weapon in the city. Bonamassa can change a game with her bat, glove and legs. The junior hit .571 with 28 runs scored in the regular season and scored seven runs in four playoff games. The switch hitter has blazing speed, can slap the ball to the opposite field and is impossible to catch on the bases. Singles became triples. Bonamassa possesses uncanny range in center field, especially gap to gap, and a superb arm.
SS Dia Cascone, Susan Wagner: Did she have a vintage Dia Cascone season? No. But the Caldwell College-bound senior still excelled in just about every category. Cascone is a five-tool player and there were few defenders – at any position – that could match her skills. More than that, she turned it on in the playoffs, leading Wagner to the PSAL Class A semifinals. The Falcons fell to Madison, but it was a great run and it couldn’t have happened without Cascone. Coach Marco Altieri said she is the best athlete to come through the doors of Wagner in his 14 years teaching there.
SS Gina Gerone, James Madison: Gerone epitomizes the two Ps: prodigy and prototype. As a freshman, she was Madison’s best hitter and one of the top sluggers in the PSAL. In the playoffs, she took it to a another level. Gerone was 13-for-18 with a home run, a triple, two doubles, 12 RBIs and nine runs scored in five games. Her fielding was nearly flawless. Though just a ninth grader, she’s tall and strong with the kind of tools that college coaches drool over. Don’t be surprised to see her playing Division I softball in four years.
P Tiffany Irrera, Bishop Kearney: Irrerra made slim leads stand up for Kearney all season. Her plethora of pitches, including a devastating change-up, made her tough to string hits together against. The junior surrendered just two runs in the team’s four games against rivals Fontbonne Hall and St. Edmund Prep en route to an undefeated regular season and Kearney’s first Brooklyn division title since 2004. At the plate, Irrera had the knack for the big hit, whether it was to drive in a run or start an inning.
SS Brielle Kerscher, Moore Catholic: Kerscher was the leadoff hitter and spark to a superb Moore Catholic order. The senior hit a hefty .429 with 17 runs scored and 10 RBI during the regular season. She was one of the senior leaders on a young Mavericks team. Kercher helped Moore to a second-place finish in CHSAA Staten Island. The Mavericks were one of just two squads to beat St. Joseph by the Sea this season. She kept Moore in the Archdiocesan final with a few diving stops and sparking plays at short, where she moved this season from second base.
CF Victoria McFarland, Tottenville: As close to a first team selection as one can get – and McFarland was just a sophomore. The sinewy strong slugger was arguably Tottenville’s best hitter and that’s saying something when Ashley Corrao and Jeanine Leo are also in the lineup. McFarland was also exceptional with the glove, tracking down balls gap to gap and showing off a strong throwing arm. There isn’t much stopping her from being one of the top players in New York City the next two seasons.
CF Brittany O’Brien, James Madison: The junior was an indispensable part of Madison’s lineup this season. O’Brien virtually lived on base, getting there by any means necessary: walks, slaps, doubles or triples. Coach Bill Dumont called her the team’s catalyst and that was true. Whenever she was on, she was a threat to steal and was almost automatically and scoring position after every single.
SS Theresa Quinn, St. Francis Prep: Quinn, who will walk on at Iona in the fall, was the linchpin of the St. Francis Prep offense, having great at bats and getting big hits in big spots. Her RBI single was the only run scored in SFP’s playoff win over St. Edmund and she nearly hit a screaming line drive that would have tied a game against Molloy had Janelle Boyd not snared it. Quinn moved from catcher to shortstop where her strong arm and great range made her a natural.
SS Heather Salerno, Tottenville: With names like Corrao and Leo on the lineup card every day, it’s hard for others to get the attention they deserve. Well, Salerno was as rock solid in every aspect of the game as anyone this season. She plays a tremendous shortstop, with great range and an accurate arm. At the plate, she’s one of the most dangerous leadoff hitters out there. Pitchers try their hardest to get her out before the big boppers come out, but they are rarely successful.
All-City Honorable Mention
3B Taylor Baggs, Moore Catholic
P Amanda Barrese, St. Joseph by the Sea
C Carmella Caccese, Susan Wagner
2B Lisa Cutrona, Tottenville
P Tina DeLuca, Francis Lewis
1B Stephanie DeMartino, St. John Villa
P Cecilia Ehresman, Townsend Harris
P Emma Ferrington, St. Edmund
3B Laura Montalto, Preston
1B/P Maria Palmeri, Archbishop Molloy
1B Carla Pennolino, St. Francis Prep
P Taylor Sarcone, Susan Wagner
LF Maria Scoppeletto, St. Joseph by the Sea
P Johanna Rice, St. Francis Prep
SS Anniela Vaccaro, Archbishop Molloy