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Top Sports Stories 2018: Monarchs end as champions

Say this about the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs: They went out as champions.

The final season for the Mercy softball team just happened to be its greatest. With the knowledge that their school would close at the end of the 2017-18 school year (a decision the Diocese of Rockville Centre made in consideration of low enrollment and financial factors), the Monarchs made their mark, winning their first county championship in team history, according to athletic director Melissa Edwards.

They saved their best for last.

“It’s surreal,” coach Rose Horton said. “This whole entire season has been kind of surreal.”

Mercy swept Southold/Greenport, 3-0 and 18-1, in the Suffolk County Class C finals. If there was any question after Game 1 as to how the series would end, the Monarchs erased it with a dominant performance in Game 2 at Greenport High School. Mercy plated 17 runs in the first four innings and totaled 20 hits.

Production came throughout the batting order. Sarah Penny (5-for-5, two RBIs, two doubles, three runs, walk), Olivia Valle (3-for-3, four runs, two walks, stolen base) and Katie Wilkie (3-for-4, three RBIs, three runs, two walks, two stolen bases) led the onslaught.

Mercy’s storybook season came to an end in the Long Island final at a rain-soaked field at Hofstra University’s Bill Edwards Stadium. East Rockaway pitcher Emily Chelius hurled a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts as Mercy was beaten, 10-0. The Monarchs were without four senior starters because of a conflict with the senior prom.

“I am super proud of the season that we had and the commitment that these girls showed out there today,” Horton said. “I don’t think I could have asked for anything more.”

Tears fell with the raindrops when the game ended. The Monarchs finished with a 10-12 record — and they made memories to last a lifetime.

“It’s definitely down in Mercy history, for sure,” Mercy catcher Jordyn Stromski said. “Even though the school won’t be there, the Mercy family will be there and know that we made history for the softball team.”

Photo caption: The Mercy softball team celebrates the county title. (Credit: Bob Liepa)