The Fenwick High School softball team has struggled against Girls Catholic Athletic Conference Red Division teams this season. Although the Friars are a disappointing 2-8 in league play, head coach Mike Marrese remains confident his team can play with anybody.
“To be honest, no one in our conference has wowed me,” Marrese said. “We have a good conference and there is no easy opponent in the CGAC.
“We are just not hitting with runners in scoring position in conference play. And it’s difficult to always play from behind on the scoreboard.”
Reflective of their 9-8-1 overall record, it’s been a season of ups and downs for the Friars. Fenwick opened the season 4-0-1, then dropped eight of nine games and has swept four games in a row to arrive at the mid-season point.
“During our rough stretch in conference play, I stressed to the team to focus on improving and working hard every day,” Marrese said. “Our success will result from focus, hard work and improvement. It is important to get off to a good start, but what’s more important is how you finish going into the state playoffs. I feel we are headed in the right direction.”
Last week’s streak certainly boosted the team’s confidence and momentum.
Sophomore Alyssa Stramaglia threw a perfect game as the Friars cruised past visiting Taft 11-0 in six innings at the Priory, April 22. Stramaglia helped her cause with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate. Junior Kayley Sherwood (2-for-4, home run, triple) and sophomore Cassandra Lee (2-for-3) also led offensively.
Fenwick also notched victories against Providence (3-1, April 18) and Resurrection (11-4, April 17) last week.
Senior Natalie Cairo hit a game-winning two-run home run in the seventh inning against Providence. Before Cairo’s dramatic homer, Stramaglia singled to tie the game at 1-1.
Riverside’s Grace Tucek pitched a complete game with no earned runs against the Celtics.
Cairo also slugged a grand slam in the Friars’ win against Resurrection. Cairo, Lee and Tucek all went 2-for-4. Tucek earned the victory and Lee the save.
With Tucek, Stramaglia and Lee, the Friars can roll out a quality pitcher every game.
The veteran Tucek (5-4) leads the Friars in innings pitched (55), strikeouts (57) and earned run average (2.53). She’s also issued only eight walks this season.
“We are very fortunate to have three top-quality pitchers on varsity,” Marrese said. “I can go to anyone of them at any time, any situation. I also can start any one of them in any game knowing they will keep us in the game.
“The pitching has been there for us. We are starting to give our staff the run support that’s needed.”
Fenwick hosts a pair of games this week at the Priory, against Resurrection on Thursday, April 27 (4:30 p.m.) and area rival Trinity on Saturday, April 29 (11 a.m.).