Coach Scannapieco pleased with Brookdale’s ’04 softball season

Jersey Blues
sixth at national championships

Staff Writer

Jersey Blues
sixth at national championships
Staff Writer

Bo Scannapieco will always have fond memories of the 2004 Brookdale Community College women’s softball team.

The Jersey Blues completed the ’04 campaign with a sixth-place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III fastpitch softball tournament, in Joliet, Ill. Overall, the Blues were 41-13, winning their ninth straight Region XIX championship and fourth straight Garden State Athletic Conference crown during their run to the nationals.

"My expectations were filled," said Scannapieco. "We won the most exciting Region ever. I’ll always remember that about this year."

The highlight of the Region was Brookdale’s come-from-behind win in the final on the home field of archrival Gloucester. The Roadrunners had taken a 3-2 lead with two runs in the top of the seventh only to see their nemesis, Brookdale, answer with two in the last of the seventh to steal the victory and the championship.

The young Jersey Blues, who had just one player who had been to the nationals the previous year, carried that momentum to the nationals, where they went 1-3 and finished in sixth place.

"We did OK," Scannapieco said of his team’s performance in Joliet. "It was a good season for us. I thought we played well. The effort was there, but not the execution.

"I felt things had to break right for us because we were a young team," he added.

Brookdale got out of the gate on the wrong foot, dropping its first game in Joliet to Rainy River (Minn.), 3-1.

"That was the toughest loss," noted Scannapieco. "I thought we were the superior team. We pitched well and played defense. We just didn’t hit well. It was tough to accept."

The lack of run support for pitchers Elyse Papianni and Cherise Maltais would unfortunately be the theme of the tournament for the Blues. Outside of a 10-0 win over Suffolk, N.Y., that followed the loss to Rainy River, the Blues struggled to get runners across the plate.

"We just didn’t score enough runs," Scannapieco remarked.

With the Suffolk win on May 20, the Blues were still in the championship hunt, but that ended the next day against Corning, N.Y., which beat Brookdale, 2-1, on two unearned runs. Papianni had been working on a perfect game through five innings when things went sour in the sixth and Corning scored two unearned runs.

"We left everything out on the field in that game," noted Scannapieco. "They had an All-American pitcher and we kept the pressure on her throughout the game. We got an RBI double from Leah Minnick, but we just couldn’t tack on more. We had runners on second and third in the seventh and couldn’t score.

"We were going to have to win a 2-1, 3-2 game somewhere," he said.

After falling out of the championship hunt, Brookdale fell 4-0 to Dawson (Mont.) in the fifth/sixth consolation game. Scannapieco used his entire roster in this game so that everyone on the team got to play in the nationals.

Papianni and Maltais both pitched superbly at the nationals. Papianni did not allow an earned run in her two starts and struck out 17 in 13 innings of work.

Minnick, who led the nation in RBIs this year with 82, had four hits and four RBIs to pace the offense. Deidre Trijilio also had four hits in Joliet.

Scannapieco is already looking forward to 2004. He knows he has a very solid returning cast, led by pitchers Pap and Maltais and shortstop Minnick. With some strong recruits to add to the mix, Brookdale figures to be back in the national championship picture.