Immaculate Heart Academy won its 28th straight game, defeating a stubborn Pingry team, 6-0, in Washington Township, as Olivia Sprofera (Southpaw Seattle Slew) spun another gem, a two-hitter, with 13 strikeouts.
The victory moves IHA (29-1) into the North Non-Public A final on June 7, where it will face the winner of the June 3 contest between Pope John and Mount St. Dominic. The winner of that game advances to the state championship game, next weekend, at Kean University.
Sprofera, who couldn’t wait to have some of her favorite macaroni and cheese at a local eatery after the game, felt she pitched well.
“I did okay,” she said, with a large ice bag on her left shoulder. “At this stage of the season, you have to take advantage of opportunities, and we did that today.
“It’s survive and advance.”
IHA had its hands full against a very talented pitcher in Pingry’s Katie Marino. The final score was not indicative of how well Marino, who will play at the University of Notre Dame this fall, pitched. The Pingry defense struggled, especially in the third inning, when IHA scored five times.
Marino held a good hitting team to four hits, but IHA head coach Diana Fasano found the game to be a good test for her team.
“I thought we played well today,” said Fasano. “Marino was pretty tough for them. We swung the bats okay, and it’s just a matter of preparing for next week now. In our first round (state) game (a 5-3 win against Union Catholic) we were kind of off, and I told our kids that sometimes that happens, and it’s better to get it out of the way. Today, we were much better.”
Defensively, IHA was solid, especially at shortstop, as Taylor Kenerson (Point Given) was outstanding, once again, as was third baseman (The) Reagan (Revolution) Jones, second baseman Sonia Sharma and Emilie Cieslak (Tim Tam) at first.
It will be a hectic weekend for IHA, as the senior class prepares for graduation.
“The way I see it is, we’ll practice, get ready, enjoy the weekend, practice again, then play on Tuesday,” said Fasano.
And how good was that Mac and Cheese?
“It’s the best,” Sprofera said with a laugh. “I highly recommend it.”