MAMARONECK, N.Y. Jessica Calvini is difficult to hit against even when she comes straight at a hitter. The level of difficulty increases when the Rye Neck pitcher is moving her pitches around the strike zone with the same velocity.
The senior five-year varsity pitcher handcuffed fourth-seeded Dobbs Ferry, tossing a five-hitter and striking out 12, sending the top seed to a 6-0 win in a Section 1 Class B Softball Championship semifinal on Thursday.
Rye Neck (19-2) will face second-seeded and defending champion Valhalla, a 6-3 winner over John F. Kennedy Catholic, in the championship game on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Heroes Field in Nanuet. This is the second consecutive year the teams are playing for the title and fourth straight trip to the title game for Rye Neck.
Along with her brilliant pitching performance, Calvini tripled, singled and drove in three runs. Freshman Diana King tripled, doubled, singled and scored three runs. This was the second Calvini shutout of Dobbs Ferry this season.
Nickole and I were working well together, said Calvani of catcher Nickole Morgan. If you keep throwing the same pitch, you know a team like Dobbs Ferry is going to make the adjustment by the third inning.
We were keeping the batters off balance and keeping them guessing by using every part of the plate and every part of the strike zone.
Dobbs Ferry coach Neil Abbatiello has experienced Calvini enough to know that she can shut down any offense.
She gets tougher each year, Abbatiello said. She has worked on her skills, is seasoned and confident in her pitching. She deserves all the credit she gets.
Through two innings, it appeared Calvini and Dobbs Ferrys Alex Cialini were going to rack up zeroes on the scoreboard. This would change, though, in the third.
King, after falling behind 0-2, smacked a double down the third-base line. Marisa Bellas sacrifice bunt went for a base hit, moving King to third. Calvini laced a single to left, scoring King. Morgan, who also had two quick strikes, ripped a single to center, scoring two and Brianna Cefalonis sacrifice fly brought in Nicole Pineda with the fourth run of the inning.
Dobbs Ferry is are a hard-working team, they have an excellent coach and are an amazing program and we knew they were going to come back against us and make the adjustments they needed to make, Calvini said. I knew that you cant win a game against Dobbs Ferry unless you scored more than four runs.
Andrea Abbatiello had two of Dobbs Ferrys hits. The Eagles threatened in the fifth in a Lindsay Trezza single and Nia Ulfers double, but they were stranded.
Dobbs Ferry 000 000 0 -- 0-5-0 Rye Neck 004 101 x -- 6-10-0
RBI -- Jessica Calvini 3, Nickole Morgan 2, Brianna Cefaloni. 2B -- DF: Nia Ulfers; RN: Diana King. 3B -- RN: Jessica Calvini, Diana King. WP -- Jessica Calvini. LP -- Alex Cialini.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.