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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Lancers Back Atop Msgr. Martin Athletic Association

Everyone knows coaching involves sacrifice.

Monday, while many people will be spending the day outside (weather permitting) watching parades, having cookouts and visiting family, St. Mary’s of Lancaster Softball coach Kevin Hufford will be on the road.

But it’s a sacrifice he’s happy to make, as he gets to take his Lancers downstate for the Catholic State Championship game next Tuesday, May 28th.

“We lose another Memorial Day,” Hufford said. “I’m alright with that.”

Hufford’s team earned that trip as the top seeded Lancers took down the Mount St. Mary’s Thunder 4-0 in the Monsignor Martin Softball Championship game Tuesday night at D’Youville’s Dobson Field.

It was a redeeming win for St. Mary’s who took an early exit from the playoffs last season, losing to Nardin in the semifinals.

“Last year’s loss definitely gave us a lot of motivation,” said Catie Bish, a four-year varsity player for the Lancers. “We knew we had to be focused with the right mentality so it wouldn’t happen again this year.”

Bish drove home Riley Malicki in the bottom of the third inning for what turned out to be the game-winning run.

It was a one-eighty from the top of the inning that nearly saw the Mount get the first run of the game.

The Thunder had loaded the bases with only one out. Sam Hall hit a long sacrifice fly out to left-center field, however, the runner from third base never tagged up and before coming home.

Mount St. Mary’s couldn’t the get momentum back after that, not getting beyond second base for the rest of the game and stranded eight total runners.

The Lancers added their final three runs in the sixth. Bish and Torrie Jenkins led off the inning getting on base. Anna Dovey brought in Bish on a double. In the next at-bat, the Mount defense tried to catch Jenkins at third but the throw was off and she took advantage. Ava Miller’s groundout was long enough for Dovey to get home.

Besides going 1-for-3 and scoring a run, Jenkins was also strong in the circle for St. Mary’s. The junior, who transferred from Cheektowaga over the summer, threw all seven innings for the Lancers only giving up four hits, none of which were for extra bases.

“It was a very close game but we knew we were going to come out on top,” said Jenkins, who was named Msgr. Martin Player of the Year. “I had to just take it one pitch at a time because I know I have a great defense behind me.”

Tuesday’s win gives the Lancers’ their third Msgr. Martin title since 2015 when Hufford took over the program.

But Hufford wouldn’t take all the credit for his program success instead acknowledging the work of assistant coach Mike Rappl.

Rappl, who founded the Canisius College softball program and amassed an 831-526-2 record, joined Hufford in 2014 to help his alma mater.

Unfortunately, due to an illness, Rappl cannot spend much time outside but he attends all of the Lancers’ indoor practices.

“He’s about as good as it gets with the mental side of softball and making young women feel confident,” Hufford said of Rappl, a 2015 inductee into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. “I think because of him every kid on this team believes that if it was their turn, they could knock the ball over the fence, drive that run in or whatever they have to do. I almost feel embarrassed that I’m the head coach and he’s the assistant.”

MMAA Pitcher of the Year

Jess DiPasquale               Nardin

MMAA Player of the Year

Torrie Jenkins                  St. Mary’s

First Team All-Catholic

Ava Miller                         St. Mary’s

Maggie Kellner                St. Mary’s

Catie Bish                         St. Mary’s

Anna Castlevetre             Nardin

Ellie Robertson                Nardin

Athena Zak                       Sacred Heart

Martha Bathasar             Sacred Heart

Samantha Hare                Mount St. Mary’s

Jillian Fittry                       Mount St. Mary’s

Megan Kyte                      Nichols

Alex Buckley                     Cardinal O’Hara

Honorable Mention

Gianna DiPasquale         Sacred Heart

Sophia Young                   Mount St. Mary’s

Alexandra Villafuerte     Nichols

Izzy Battaglia                    Cardinal O’Hara

Christina Zambron          Mount Mercy

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