Foran High right-handed pitcher Makenna Prete held off a potent Jonathan Law offense, and the Lions hit in the clutch on Monday when they won a 5-1 decision over the visiting Lady Lawmen.
“Makenna is a three-year starter for us,” Foran head coach Stephanie Dawid said of her junior, who allowed three hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out three.
“She is coming off (pitching) a five-game week. Makenna kept her stamina up and took it one pitch at a time. This was the best changeup she has thrown all season.
“She hit her spots, she had a game.”
Law coach Melanie Paolini agreed.
“Makenna pitched the the best I’ve seen her pitch in our games with Foran (the last three years). She kept us off balance. We are a hitting team and it needs to be contagious. We never got anything going,” Paolini said of her squad, now 9-6.
Foran’s Kailey Loewenberg struck the game’s biggest blow when the junior, batting in the No. 9 spot, drilled a two-run single to right field with two out in the second inning.
Law right-hander Brianna Buccitti was almost out of a bases-loaded jam with a fielder’s choice grounder to Cali Jolley at short (to catcher Kacy O’Connor) and a catch in right-center by Erica Boehm, before Loewenberg delivered.
Alexa Mendillo and Prete had worked out walks around Hailey LaForte’s infield single to start the frame.
The Lions added a run in the third, and again it was a two-out single that brought the run across.
Mary Grace Weissauer inside-outed a single over Skyler Bender’s head at first to start off the inning. Buccitti retired the next two batters, with Weissauer moving to third on the infield grounders.
LaForte singled to center to salvage the rally and give Prete a 3-0 lead.
“Pitching from ahead is a great feeling,” Prete said. “The key today for me was staying ahead in the count and trusting me defense. My teammates are great and Lexi (catcher Alexis James) is amazing. She always finds a way to build me up and keep me going.”
Prete set down the first eight batters she faced — with Kalie Mendola in center making a dazzling catch on Emily Marcy’s rising shot to center to start the third.
After a strikeout, Ally Stein singled before Loewenberg went into the hole to throw out Cali Jolley.
Law built a run in the top of the fourth.
Boehm, who played a stellar game in center field, doubled to the fence in left center to open the rally. She went to third on Gina Boccomazzo’s grounder to Mendillo at third and scored on O’Connor’s roller to LaForte at shortstop.
Foran took the edge off with a two-run rally in the sixth.
Prete singled with one out and courtesy runner Jessica Sanders went to second on Marguerite Collete’s base hit.
Tori Lanese loaded the bases with an infield single and Loewenberg earned her third RBI with a fielder’s choice grounder.
Mendola singled for the third time in the game to plate Sanders, before Law second baseman Maddie Lula took the relay from Liz Hayden and threw home to O’Connor to erase Lanese.
Prete retired nine straight batters, including three comebackers to the pitching circle, going into the seventh.
Boccamazzo broke the skein with a single to left, but LaForte turned O’Connor’s glove-buster to short into a 6-4-3 double play that was well turned by Loewenberg.
Another grounder to Loewenberg closed out the win.
“We are constantly looking to make progress, not be perfect,” Dawid said. “The last five or six games we’ve been playing better. It is a good feeling to be on the upside. Our record (2-13) is a credit to the softball talent in the SCC.”
And, Monday’s win was a testament to the talent and grit at Foran.