When Rye Country Day won the Fairchester Athletic Association league title May 9, beating King 11-3, they were thrilled.
By Melanie Cane
When Rye Country Day won the Fairchester Athletic Association league title May 9, beating King 11-3, they were thrilled. But when they found out that their 10-2 record paired them with fourth-seeded Holy Child in the semifinal, their excitement dwindled. Rye Country Day had lost to Holy Child in every match-up over the last four years, including a 4-0 loss May 1. The May 11 game was no exception. Holy Child topped Rye Country Day 5-1 behind the outstanding pitching and hitting of senior co-Captains Molly Leitner and Elizabeth Curcio.
The Gryphons opened the scoring in the top of the third inning. Julianna Capasso hit an infield single and stole second. Millie Cavicchio moved her to third on a ground out, and Leitner sent her home on a single to center. After Curcio walked, Stephanie Kireopoulos singled to right field to load the bases. Maggie Ahern walked in a second run.
The Wildcats scored their only run on a home run by Melanie Mandell in the bottom of the fourth. Holy Child added to their lead in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded, Caroline Bryceland hit a ground ball to the shortstop who threw it home, but the runner was safe. Curcio then singled in a runner, leaving the bases loaded. Ahern hit a long shot to center field, scoring Kireopoulos, but Mandell, the center fielder, made an amazing throw to home where catcher, eighth grader Annie Hauser, tagged Bryceland for the third out.
Rye Country Day stranded several runners in the last few innings.
Wildcats Coach Margaret Scarcella was disappointed with the outcome and called it, “The curse of Holy Child. When we play them, we have to perform at a very high level and we didn’t. We left men on base, made errors that cost us runs and failed to get timely hits. We have never won with Leitner on the mound. I give Holy Child a lot of credit.”
On the other hand, Gryphons Coach Mike Clancy said, “We seem to play our best against Rye Country Day. We have had an up-and-down season, which culminated with two consecutive 6-5 losses last week. But everything clicked against the Wildcats today. Molly had a fabulous day on the plate and at bat, and Stephanie and Millie [who is batting .800] got hits when we needed them.”
Leitner threw nine strikeouts and scored twice. Curcio, who had three hits and a walk, scored once.
Summing up the game, Leitner said, “We got the hits when we needed them and made the outs in the field, including some great plays on bunts.”
The Gryphons will play in the FAA final May 13 and both teams start the NYSAIS tournament May 16.