Dani Kemp leads Lions past Tigers

Dani Kemp’s solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning proved to be the difference, as Foran High clipped visiting Mercy High of Middletown, 6-5, on April 14.

Coach Jeff Bevino’s Lions led the SCC interdivision softball contest 5-0 after two full innings, but the Tigers (1-2) rallied back to within a run following a three-run homer by Madison DeRita and an RBI single from Juliana DellaCamera in the top of the fourth.

Kemp then ripped a solo shot to left field leading off the home half of the fourth, before DeRita singled and scored on DellaCamera’s RBI single in the top of the sixth. But, Foran ace Jessica Harkness retired the top of Mercy’s lineup in order to close out the game in the seventh.

Kemp went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs for Foran. Ashley Mendillo added a two-run single and Kayla Gosselin and Fallon Bevino had RBI singles.

After defeating Mercy, Foran hosted Hillhouse High in the backend of a spring-break doubleheader. Behind four hits from Fallon Bevino, including two doubles and a three-run home run, the Lions cruised to a 21-5 victory. Fallon Bevino drove in six runs, while Kemp had three doubles and three RBIs.

Ashley Mendillo notched the win in the circle, allowing five hits. She helped her own cause at the plate with a home run and three RBIs.

In the game against Mercy, the Lions scored twice in the bottom of the first. Kemp walked, moved to second on Amanda Portoff’s sacrifice bunt and scored when Fallon Bevino yanked a singled to left field. After Ashley Mendillo walked, Mercy starter Mary Adametz struck out Jenna Zacarelli.

Gosselin then flared a single to shallow right field that ticked off of DellaCamera’s glove to make it 2-0 Foran.

Harkness retired the side in order in the second, before the Lions added three more runs in the bottom of the frame.

Kemp belted a double to deep center field to plate Natalia Hart, who had drawn a lead-off walk.

Two batters later, Ashley Mendillo grounded a single back through the circle to drive in two more runs — pushing Foran’s margin to 5-0.

Mercy pulled back four runs in the fourth, with Tiffany Mangiameli and Stephanie Mangiameli singling ahead of DeRita — who smashed a titanic three-run shot to left.

The Tigers weren’t done yet, as Stephanie Dean reached on an error, moved to second base on Brianna Sawicki’s bunt and scored on DellaCamera’s RBI single.

Mercy pressed for more and when the Lions failed to come up with Olivia Fiasconaro’s soft liner, the Tigers had the go-ahead run on base.

But, Harkness defused the threat by getting Danielle Lajoie to ground out.

Kemp clobbered a solo home run to left to make it 6-4, but Sawicki, who relieved Adametz after two innings, kept the Lions at bay the rest of the way.

With Mercy chasing a run in the top of the seventh, the Tigers’ dangerous leadoff batter Astin Donovan worked the count to 3-1.

Harkness, a southpaw, jammed the left-handed Donovan with her next offering, inducing a foul pop to catcher Mandi Mendillo. Tiffany Mangiameli lined out to Kemp at shortstop, before Hannah DeSousa hauled in Stephanie Mangiameli’s fly ball to right field to seal the victory.

Harkness struck out 24 batters and Fallon Bevino drove in the game-winning run in the top of the 10th inning when Foran opened its softball season with a 1-0 win over Branford on April 9.