Immaculate Heart Academy coach Diana Fasano was relishing her team’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Pope John at the Black and Gold Tournament in Cedar Grove, when she suddenly became philosophical.
“That shows a lot about this team,” said Fasano, as the Eagles improved to 7-1 on the season. “Your hatred to lose has to be greater than your failure to win.”
With that, she enjoyed recalling how her team, down to its last strike in the bottom of the seventh, and trailing 1-0, found a way to tie it, with three consecutive singles, two of which came when the respective batter had two strikes on her.
Sarah Browning, the eighth hitter in the lineup, singled with two outs and two strikes, and then Reagan Jones followed with a single, again with two strikes on her. Reese Guevarra (Sunday Silence) then lined a single that drove home Caroline Ventor, who was pinch running for Browning, with the tying run.
Starting pitcher Olivia Sprofera (Southpaw Seattle Slew), who pitched a marvelous game, kept Pope John off the board in the eighth inning, and then in the bottom of the frame, the Eagles got it done, as Ally Dudek drove in Danica Yatko with the winning run.
Sprofera struck out 10 and walked one while scattering just four hits. Fasano felt the victory would do a lot for team’s psyche going forward.
“We have a big week coming up, with games against Indian Hills, Old Tappan and Butler,” said Fasano. “This kind of win, against a really good team like Pope John, showed a lot about this team’s resiliency.”
According to Fasano, the hatred to lose more than a failure to win was a line used by the late IHA coach Anthony LaRezza. There’s a line similar to that, which was used in the movie ‘Moneyball’, which was a story about the Oakland A’s, which was LaRezza’s favorite Major League baseball team.
“Not surprising,” said Fasano, when told about the movie. “(We) miss the guy.”
Mount St. Dominic junior pitcher Kelsey Oh was magnificent once again, as she struck out 17 batters, helping the No. 1 team in the FMTC Top 10 to a big 1-0 win over an excellent Middletown South squad, at Ivy Hill Park, on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions will host its annual tournament on April 17, with some great games at its campus, in Caldwell. The first games should begin around 8:30 a.m. Beautiful weather is expected.
West Essex also got a win at Ivy Hill today, defeating Bridgewater Raritan, as junior outfielder Amanda Garofalo and senior first baseman Kate Jencarelli had solid games.
The Knights will play at the EDSAF & Emerson Softball Benefit Tournament, on April 17, at Emerson High School, against Ramsey, starting at 3 p.m.
Livingston coach Jason Daily was proud of his team’s effort, despite a 3-1 setback to a good Hillsborough team at Ivy Hill Park. Livingston rallied to load the bases, after two were out, before a hard hit grounder was handled for the game’s final out.
“We’re getting there,” said Daily. “These kids work hard. I think we’re turning the corner. The competition we’ve faced lately, in Butler, West Essex and Hillsborough today shows we’re capable of playing at a good level.”
Livingston will be at the Mount St. Dominic Lions Softball Invitational, on April 17, to face Newark Academy, in a battle of Livingston. The winner will probably earn the fourth seed for the upcoming Essex County Tournament. Game time is expected to be around 4:30 p.m.