Heartbreaking loss ends Highland’s season

By Mike Zummo
Posted 6/5/24

Abie Maier experienced both ends of the emotional spectrum in the space of one inning.

After hitting a game-tying single in the top of the seventh inning, the sun, shining from behind home …

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Heartbreaking loss ends Highland’s season


Abie Maier experienced both ends of the emotional spectrum in the space of one inning.

After hitting a game-tying single in the top of the seventh inning, the sun, shining from behind home plate, prevented her from getting a handle on a fly ball that put the winning run on base in the Highland Huskies’ 3-2 loss to the Section 1 champion Albertus Magnus Falcons in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association subregional softball game at North Rockland High School in Thiells.

“I feel like we put up about as good an effort as we possibly could,” Highland coach Kathelene Canosa said. “Their pitcher was very good.

We didn’t really have that much information on them. We knew that, based on what she had done, she had a lot of strikeouts, so we knew she was going to throw strikes. But she really did her part for her to team to win.”

Teagan Dwyer limited the Huskies to two runs on five hits. She struck out 10 batters and held a 2-0 lead before the Huskies finally started getting around on her in the sixth inning.

Sierra Spinelli drew a one-out walk, stole second base and took third on an error. That put her in position to score on Delaney Reid’s single, which pulled the Huskies to within a run.

They tied the game in the seventh inning when Violet Brienza led off with a single and Gianna Jones bunted her to second base. Abby Paserba then fouled out to third base, but as Albertus Magnus third baseman Bianca Aponte caught the ball in front of her team’s dugout, Brienza alertly tagged up and went to third base.

That put her in position to score on Maier’s game-tying single.

“That was heads-up baserunning,” Canosa said. “Gianna got the bunt down. She had two strikes, and we gave her the bunt sign again. She got it down and then Vi, on a fly ball tags from second, and then Abie got the next hit. It was really good, smart softball.”

Emma Hanlon singled next, sending Maier to second base, hit a blooper into right field that the Falcons’ Aubrey Dwyer bobbled, but made the catch to end the inning.

The Falcons’ Maddie Geary led off and hit the fly ball into the sun that dropped into right field. After the Falcons’ Allie Falesto bunted her to third, Teagan Dwyer hit a sacrifice fly to Ciera Teamer in left field to end the game, and with it, the Huskies’ season.

“I think she just lost it in the sun,” Canosa said. “Abie has been nothing but clutch for us all season, and I would trust her in the outfield every day, every inning, every minute, and sometimes you’re just a little bit unlucky. But it happens. And, if she doesn’t get that hit, she doesn’t get a chance to play the field, anyway, so it balances out.”

Alexa Pavese went the distance for Highland, giving up all three runs. However, only one of them was earned.

“Alexa has been a rock all season,” Canosa said. “They got a little bit lucky. We had a couple of throwing errors that got the runners around, but that’s kind of how it happens in a 3-2 game.”

The loss finished one of the most successful seasons the Huskies have had in some time. Their season had ended the previous two seasons to the Marlboro Dukes, who moved up to Class A this year. They lost to Marlboro in the semifinals last year and in the championship game in 2022.

When they defeated Chester, 8-3, on May 25 at Mount St. Mary College, it gave the Huskies their first Section 9 championship since 2014.

“I told them I couldn’t have been more proud of them,” Canosa said. “Sometimes losing a 3-2 game is so much harder on a walk off than it is a 14-0 game because you know you had a chance to win, as they did. But we put out our best product today, and I couldn’t have been prouder of the girls.”