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Bonnies best their Kearney rivals

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Nearly all involved expected the type of game that was played between Fontbonne Hall and Kearney.

“The Kearney⁄Fontbonne rivalry is always going to be a good game,” Bonnies coach Frank Marinello said. “It’s always going to be that 1−0, 2−0, 2−1 (score). …Very rarely is it a blow out on either part.”

The two Brooklyn rivals produced just that again, with Kearney scratching out a 2−1 win in CHSAA Brooklyn⁄Queens softball Saturday at Gil Hodges Field. The Bonnies stars, starting pitcher and No. 3 hitter Ashley Schirripa and cleanup batter Corine Fitzgibbons expect something different every time they step on a softball field, though, no matter who the opponent.

“We expect to kill them,” Schirripa said. “We expect to dominate. We should be beating them by like seven runs. Everyone else on the team expects it to be close.”

That’s because the two play together on the Lt. Nick Lia Sapphires, one of the best travel teams in the city, based in Staten Island and coached by Steven Caso. The duo plays at the Gold level, the highest on the AAU circuit.

“We play travel so we have a whole different level of competition and mentality,” Fitzgibbons said. “With our travel team, we don’t lose.”

They rarely lose at Fontbonne (5−1), either, winning the CHSAA Brooklyn division title last season. Against Kearney (7−0) on Saturday, they were unable to do it alone. The Bonnies managed just four hits, two from Schirripa and one from Fitzgibbons, who also had a sacrifice fly in the fourth to tie the score at 1−1. It scored Schirripa, who tripled off the wall in center field. Katie Losquadro added a single in the sixth.

“I welcome the pressure, because of the level we play at,” Fitzgibbons said. “It’s easier for us to adjust to different types of pitching.”

The four−year starter can play catcher, first base and will be put at shortstop, like she was Saturday, to strengthen the infield. Her bat, though, is what makes her special. Fitzgibbons hits the ball hard every at bat. She drove three balls to the deepest part of the field against Kearney.

“Modern−day Babe Ruth,” Marinello said. “Best player in the borough. It’s the easiest thing you can say about her.”

She and Schirripa, a dominant starter who struck out six Tigers and allowed just four hits, form a lethal middle of the order. The two almost created the game’s first run when Schirripa singled and Fitzgibbons hit a ball over Joanna Emilio’s head in center field. But as Schirripa rounded third base, she fell and was throw out at home.

“The dirt is soft,” Schirripa said. “I just got caught. I just went down.”

Kearney scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI groundout by Kristen O’Neill, her second RBI of the game, after an errant throw to second on a steal attempt allowed Emilio to advance to third.

Kearney starter Tiffany Irrera retired Schirripa and Fitzgibbons when she needed to, getting a groundout with a runner on in the sixth and a long fly out to center in the seventh, respectively. Kearney won the first meeting last season also.

“Just to get Ashley and Corine out is a big thing.” Irrera said. “But they can crack the ball.”

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