RIVERSIDE — In a crucial battle for control of the Greater Catholic League Coed North Division softball title, visiting Fenwick got one big inning late in the game to escape Carroll High School with a win, April 27.
The host Patriots had pulled to within one run of the front-running Fenwick Falcons in the sixth inning, and trailed 3-2, but a nifty Catie Lejeune-to-Annabelle Thomas-to-Abby Gustely 6-3-5 double play ended Carroll’s inning.
A few swings later, Fenwick’s Claudia Miller ended Carroll’s day.
Miller smacked a two-run home run over the left-field fence, and Fenwick (8-3, 5-2 GCLC North) took advantage of two Patriots errors in the inning as well, scoring five runs in the inning to claim an 8-2 win.
The homer from Miller, along with a two-run shot in the fourth from Falcons teammate Annabelle Thomas, overshadowed a stellar pitching performance from Carroll’s Emma Hughes. The senior righthander had been working on a perfect game through three innings of play. At one point, she had struck out seven Falcons batters in a row.
“They just out-hit us in that last inning. They took advantage of some errors, got some runners on base, and then hit that big home run. They just out-hit us in crucial times in this one. It really came down to that one inning,” Carroll coach Cassandra Shea said. “And Emma’s been great all year for us. She’s been pitching like that for us all year long. She’s a senior, and she knows how to hit her spots. She works the corners … I couldn’t ask for more from a pitcher. She’s doing a great job.”
Carroll (4-7, 4-5 GCLN) had the early lead when leadoff batter Marina Stevens opened the game with a triple into right field. She then scored on Hughes’ groundout to first.
Stevens again smacked a triple — this time to right field — in the fifth inning, but was left on third as Fenwick third baseman Abby Gustely robbed Jessica Babros of a line-drive hit for the final out.
Gustely came up with a big defensive play in the sixth inning as well.
Carroll’s Camryn Joseph had pulled the Patriots to within 3-2 with an RBI double that scored Hughes from second. But on Audrey Ward’s grounder to short, Joseph was then tagged out at third by Gustely, after taking a solid throw from first by Thomas for the final out of the inning.
Fenwick then iced the game with its five-run seventh.
“Emma Hughes is a terrific pitcher, and she really made us work today. We’ve been alternating between seeing slow pitchers and fast pitchers lately, and we just faced a slow pitcher yesterday. Once we got things timed up today, we did okay. … Last season, Annabelle Thomas was among the top batters in the league in average, home runs and RBIs, and she’s right there again this year. And Claudia is the same way for us, she was a solid last season for us, too. So we expect that from those two,” explained Fenwick coach George Moore.
With the Falcons’ win, they need to claim at least one win in their next two GCL Coed North games to clinch the North Division. Fenwick will host Carroll at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 30, then they have a makeup game against Chaminade Julienne still to be rescheduled for next week as well.
Carroll has two division games remaining as well. If the Patriots can defeat Fenwick on Monday, then win in Kettering’s Ernst Park against Alter on Monday, May 7, they would share the division crown with the Falcons.
“If CJ can beat Fenwick, and then we can beat Fenwick too, the title would be ours,” Carroll’s Shea added. “We’ll see what we can do on Monday.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.