LYNN — And a child shall lead them.
The St. Mary’s softball team was coming off what you could consider a gut-wrenching loss in the John Holland tournament. The Spartans had come all the way back from two large deficits to Swampscott only to end up losing on a combination of baserunning miscues and great defensive plays. Now here it was, two days later, and the Spartans were back at it against their official rival team — Bishop Fenwick. And all that stood between them and a two-game skid, just as the MIAA softball tournament is about to start, was eighth-grade pitcher Lily Newhall.
And Newhall was up for the task. She went the distance Tuesday night, pitching to contact for the most part (she only had three strikeouts), and gave up seven hits. Meanwhile, the Spartans pounded the ball and won the game, 13-4, thus sweeping the season’s series between the two teams.
“I’m really impressed with her,” said coach Paige Licata, who was celebrating her 50th win as the Spartans’ coach (she’s in her third season). “She just pitched almost the entire game Sunday and here it is two days later, and she come back and goes seven innings. She’s good right now. I can’t wait to see her in a couple of years.”
Alyssa Grossi had the hot bat for St. Mary’s. The freshman second baseman had four hits, scored four runs, and knocked in three, leading a Spartan offense that pounded out 15 hits.
“We have the potential and capability to do this,” said Licata. “We’ve been putting our hits together more and more lately.”
On the other side of the field, Fenwick coach Paul Lyman said his team doesn’t have much room for error.
“We don’t have the pitching that can strike people out, so our team has to make plays,” he said. “We didn’t do that tonight. We didn’t play good defense.”
St. Mary’s scored right away in the bottom of the first. Christina Nowicki (2-for-4, two runs scored) led off with a single, moved to third on Newhall’s bunt single, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Marina DiBiasio (3-for-3, two runs, three RBI). St. Mary’s got two more in the second, one on Felicia D’Alessandro’s single and the other on a double steal. The Spartans scored three more in the third to make the score 6-0 on RBI by Sammi Porazinski (two) and Grossi.
Fenwick got a run in the fourth on a single by Natalie Medros, but St. Mary’s put five on the board in the bottom of the fourth, on RBI hits by DiBiasio (two), Grossi (two) and Porazinski to make the score 11-1 and put the game out of reach.
The Crusaders (6-12) put a run across in the top of the fifth, and scored two more in the sixth inning, but the Spartans (12-7) scored two in the bottom of the sixth to round out the scoring.
Fenwick wraps up its season Saturday with a doubleheader at home against Williams while the Spartans are home Friday against Arlington Catholic. These are all makeup games from rainouts early in the season.