Spartan softball team breaks out the bats to defeat Crusaders

Talia Smaller (36) is congratulated after hitting a 3-run homer Monday against Fenwick. (Owen O'Rourke)

PEABODY — Last week, St. Mary’s lost a softball game to Marblehead and coach Paige Licata was upset because she didn’t think the Spartans came to play.

That wasn’t a problem Monday. The Spartans came to play and then some, scoring four runs in the first inning en route to a 10-3 rout over Catholic Central League rival Bishop Fenwick.

“It was definitely better than Friday,” Licata said, “but I still think we need that killer mentality. We had it for the first three innings.”

All of St. Mary’s offense occurred in the first three innings, and then things kind of slacked off after that — something Licata found disconcerting.

“I guess I’m never satisfied,” Licata said. “I don’t know if it’s a mindset or what, but we just don’t seem to keep the pressure on.”

Ten runs were more than enough on this day, with pitchers Angelia Pepe and Christina Nowicki both on their game. The Crusaders did scratch together three runs — two of them in the third inning — and they threatened a few times more.

“But we couldn’t seem to get the big hit that would get us back into the game,” said Fenwick coach Paul Lyman. “It’s tough for a team like us to play from behind. But we gave up all those runs early, and that’s what we had to do.”

Licata let her team know how she felt after Friday’s loss to Marblehead, and it’s apparent her players listened. Nowicki led off with a scorching double down the third-base line and Marina DiBiasio was hit by a pitch. After Talia Smaller walked, Jennie Iudice singled two runs in. One out later (the first out for the Spartans), Alyssa Grossi walked to reload the bases. And with two outs, Jordan Sullivan’s base hit scored the other two runs for the Spartans.

Staked to a 4-0 lead, Pepe went to work. Fenwick scored a run in the bottom of the first, mainly due to an infield overthrow. Courtney Norton had led off with a single, and came around to score when she alertly took third on Maddie Csogi’s sacrifice bunt and kept running when the throw attempting to nail her rolled out of bounds.

St. Mary’s made it 5-1 in the top of the second when Nowicki, who had three hits and scored three runs from the leadoff spot, singled, stole second, and came home on a base hit by Iudice — her third RBI of the day.

The Spartans doubled their output in the third, with five runs crossing the plate. Three of them came home on Smaller’s titanic home run.

Grossi led off by reaching on an error and went to second on Sam Polazinski’s sacrifice. Pepe’s single knocked home Grossi, and after Nowicki was hit by a pitch, DiBlasio scored Pepe with a base hit.

Smaller then cleared the bases, stepping into one and launching it through a stiff wind blowing in from the outfield that easily cleared the left-field fence.

Fenwick got two runs back in the bottom of the third, one on Tessa Palermo’s single that scored Norton (who had walked); and the other on an infield hit by pitcher Nicole Modica, whose infield single brought home Palermo.

Fenwick threatened once against Nowicki, who came in to relieve Pepe in the fourth, loading the bases with two out. However, Iudice, at third, made a nice play to charge Kate Olsen’s soft grounder and gun her down.

Fenwick is back at it today, at Shawsheen (4). St. Mary’s is scheduled to be home Wednesday (7) against Cardinal Spellman.

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