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Poly Prep beats Fieldston

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Erica Sollazzo had a good philosophy, a clever spin after her Poly Prep softball team’s game against Fieldston on Wednesday in Riverdale.

“We don’t get many close games,” the junior second baseman said. “It’s good for us to stay sharp.”

The Blue Devils are the defending three-time Ivy League and NYSAISAA champions. Most of their victories – and there are many – come in routs. But not this one. Fieldston kept it close in a 5-2 Poly win in an Ivy League game.

“Usually, they’re not as close as that,” Blue Devils star senior shortstop Stephanie Caso said.

The last time the two teams met, on April 7, Poly Prep won, 12-4, in Brooklyn.

The Fieldston outfielders were playing Poly Prep (7-0 Ivy) deep all afternoon Wednesday – and it was the perfect strategy. Blue Devils hitters put charges into a handful of balls, but Eagles fielders were right there waiting for them to come down. There’s no outfield wall at Fieldston, so they could roam as deeply as they wanted to.

Caso hit two rockets to the outfield – in the fourth inning and the sixth inning – but both were caught. It was a credit to Fieldston’s defense and strategy.

“It’s not like we didn’t hit,” Poly Prep junior windmiller Victoria Capozucca said. “They were just waiting for it.”

Part of the rest for that was if a hard-hit ball gets past an outfielder at Fieldston, it’s almost an instant home run. That’s exactly what happened in sixth inning. Eagles freshman shortstop Kate Miller smoked a line drive to right field that rolled and rolled and rolled. It ended up being a two-run home run, scoring Ally Kaplan from second, that cut Poly’s lead to 5-2.

“That ball doesn’t stop – as I found out,” Capozucca said.

It was actually the first hit the hard-throwing right-hander gave up. And she wasn’t threatened again. Capozucca gave up just those two runs on the Miller homer, two walks and struck out seven in seven innings.

Sollazzo went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, but very well could have been 4-for-4 if not for those pesky Fieldston outfielders. She hit frozen ropes off Eagles windmiller Emily Kling in the third and sixth innings. Rachel Slone went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for the Blue Devils and Katy Kirker also drove in a run.

Kling, a freshman, was actually solid. She gave up just two earned runs on five hits in seven innings for Fieldston (3-3). With her and Miller, the Eagles and first-year coach Stefanie Gozdziewski certainly have a bright future.

Poly Prep’s future is now. The Blue Devils are trying to win a fourth consecutive Ivy and NYSAISAA championships. Hitting consistently – no matter where the outfielders are located – is going to be a major key to how this season ends up.

“The game is about hitting,” Poly coach Mildred Piscopo said. “If you don’t hit, teams will stay in the game.”

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