Softball: DeSousa's home run key, Foran tops Law

When she finds a pitch in her zone, she can drill it.

Foran High senior first baseman Hannah DeSousa launched the first grand slam of her high school career deep and far over the left-field fence at Jonathan Law on Monday afternoon and the blast both ignited and lifted the Lions to a 9-4 Southern Connecticut Conference win over the Lady Lawmen. Foran, now 7-7, had defeated Law, 3-2 back on April 17.

It's the first time since 2011 that either team has been able to take both games in the always intense rivalry.

"Hannah's been solid for us all season long," Foran coach Stephanie Dawid said. "Sometimes, however, she swings too hard. Today she had a nice, regular cut and, wow, did that ball go far."

DeSousa's home run, the second one she's hit in 2017, was part of a five-run third inning by the Lions who from that point on took control of the game.

"I think our kids started to lower their heads when she (DeSousa) hit that ball," Law coach Melanie Blude said. "We never recovered. It was sad to see the lack of excitement from our players today. Especially in a rivalry game. Normally, these games bring it out. It wasn't there for us today."

DeSousa, who has started at Foran for four seasons, has been accepted on a softball scholarship to the University of Rhode Island.

"Our goal is to get back to the Class L tournament," DeSousa said. "I know we need a couple of more wins (one) to qualify. I also know that we're capable of doing it."

Law, which saw  record slip to 6-9, struck first.

Cali Jolley singled, Erica Boehm reached on a dropped third strike, and Cassidy Boath plated Jolley with a base hit.

Foran starter and winning pitcher Makenna Prete then retired Maddie Murphy and Skyler Bender on ground-ball outs to quench any further threat by Law.

Law pitcher Erin Harrigan retired the side in the first and faced only three batters in the second, thanks to a double-play by Boath at second base.

She started the third by getting two of the first three hitters she faced out. Walks to Caitlyn Parisi and Hailey LaForte loaded the bases and senior Amanda Mendillo lined a single to center to tie the score.

DeSousa then stepped in and delivered her home run.

"Our coaches have been saying all season long that we need to narrow the strike zone," DeSousa said. "There's no need to go after bad pitches. Amanda got that huge hit with the bases loaded. That started the train rolling. All I wanted to do was come up and do my part."

Foran tacked on another run in the fourth to make it a 6-1 game, before knocking home another three in the sixth to put it safely out of reach.

In the sixth, LaForte drove in two with a single while Parisi's drive to left center for two bases got the other one home.

The Lions rapped out 10 hits. Amanda Mendillo and Alyssa Deptulski had two each. None, however, was bigger than DeSoua's blast.

"She was just looking for a base hit there," Dawid said. "And what she got was a very big result."

Law put together a rally in the sixth to cut the score to 9-4, as Murphy and Kacy O'Connor had run-producing singles.

The Lady Lawmen finished with 11 hits, getting two each from Jolley, Boehm, Bender and Ally Stein.

"We've got to be able to bounce back," Blude said. "We need those two wins to qualify and we still have some very good teams ahead of us."

The schedule includes a Tuesday game with North Haven; a Wednesday contest with Sacred Heart Academy and a Friday encounter with Guilford. Also left are Platt Tech and Career Magnet.