Olivia Sprofera had just spun another gem, and was calmly walking up the trail toward the parking lot at her home field at Immaculate Heart Academy, following the post-game talk with the team and its coaches.
Not much changes in Sprofera’s mood. The low-keyed Southpaw Seattle Slew had thrown a one-hit shutout, leading IHA to its 16th straight victory, a 6-0 win over Paramus Catholic, on May 11.
“I thought I threw the ball okay,” said Sprofera with a slight smile and a large ice pack on her left shoulder. “My change up wasn’t what I would have liked. But it’s a win. We have a lot of games coming up in the next few days, and we’ll have some big games in the county tournament.”
Sprofera, a junior, reminds a lot of IHA fans of former great Steph Thomas, who won a state record 113 games from 2011-2014 for the Eagles, with her consistency in the circle and calm demeanor on and off the field.
“I just go out there and pitch,” she said. “And when this game is over, it’s a matter of getting ready for the next one.”
Sprofera’s numbers have been incredible since she took over the primary role as IHA’s number one pitcher in mid April. She’s struck out 10 or more in nine games, hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in all but one of her starts, and has thrown eight shutouts.
She was also an outstanding pitcher down the stretch of the 2015 season, winning the last two games of the state tournament to assure the Eagles a Non-Public A championship.
Emilie Cieslak (Tim Tam) powered a long two-run homer for the Eagles. The Duke-bound senior first baseman continues to swing a hot bat.
IHA coach Diana Fasano liked what she saw from her team, which improved to 17-1.
“Every game in the conference can be a battle,” said Fasano. “We’ve had some tough games with Paramus Catholic over the years. This was a good win for us. The next few days will be busy, with games on Friday, Saturday (in the Bergen County Tournament round-of-16) hopefully Sunday (in the Bergen quarterfinals, at IHA), then games Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. And then, next weekend, the county semifinals and finals. Hopefully, we can make it there.
“It’s that time of the year, and our kids are excited about it.”
Mount St. Dominic recorded its third straight shutout victory and improved to 19-2 on the season with an impressive 8-0 win over Indian Hills. It was the Mount’s seventh straight victory. The two-time defending county champions are looking very good, as some big games approach.
Kelsey Oh struck out 12 in five innings of work and Sarah Taffett had two hits for the Lions.
Mount St. Dominic will host surging Montclair, in an Essex County Tournament quarterfinal game, on May 14, at 3 p.m.
The other three ECT quarterfinals, set for May 14, feature Cedar Grove at Nutley, 11 a.m., Bloomfield at West Essex, 11 a.m. and Newark Academy at Livingston, starting at noon.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates.