The Pilgrim Patriots softball team beat the Oakers 7-4 on Thursday at Coventry High School and remain undefeated in Division I, while improving their regular season record to 5-0.
Amelia Murphy, a freshman right fielder, topped Pilgrim with three hits and two RBI, while senior ace and UMaine commit, Cat Fallon pitched a complete-game and struck out 12.
Fallon has started in the circle for each of the Pats five games, and the right-hander has fanned 65 batters in total.
Pilgrim manager Paul Kennedy was content with seeing his team win a competitive battle after cruising to victories in the team’s first four contests.
“It was nice to win a close game,” Kennedy said. “We have a lot of respect for Coventry. We knew they were going to keep coming after us and they did.”
Dyonna Rodas, Pilgrim’s junior catcher, scored the first run of the game in the top of the first inning when she crossed the plate after Jillian Ricci hit a routine fly ball that was dropped.
Next, with runners at second and third, Taylor Suffoletto socked a shot to left and knocked in both Fallon and Ricci and extended the Pilgrim buffer to 3-0.
In the second inning, the Pats upped their cushion to 4-0 when Megan Cooney, a senior center fielder, ripped a two-out RBI single to short and drove in Murphy.
Then, in the third, Ricci hammered a fly ball to center field, which was dropped, and that allowed Ricci to run all the way to third.
Next, with two outs, Bryanna Rastella, a freshman shortstop, rocketed a comebacker at the pitcher, which scored Ricci from third and put Pilgrim on top 5-0.
Murphy then hit a single up the middle to score Rastella and that extended Pilgrim’s lead to 6-0.
Coventry got within five at 6-1 in the fourth when Hannah Hawley, a freshman, launched a sacrifice fly to deep left and scored Dwyer.
Then, with one out in the sixth, Olivia Saccoccio, a sophomore, crushed a two-run home run over the left-center field wall and pulled Coventry to 6-3.
Next, Hawley hit a double to center before taking third on a passed ball.
Fallon then fanned Samantha Bergantino for the second out of the sixth before Faith Keresztessy socked a shot to shallow center, which was caught by a charging Cooney for the last out.
“We can play some defense,” Kennedy said. “Our outfield, they have speed and if they get to it, they’re going to catch it. It’s one of the more talented outfields I’ve seen in a long time.”
Joining Cooney in the outfield is Murphy in right and Sydni Bigelli in left.
The Pats added to their margin during the top of the seventh when Murphy blasted an RBI double off the glove of the shortstop, which drove in Rastella and put Pilgrim on top 7-3.
Fallon returned to the circle in the bottom of the seventh, and while the pitcher wasn’t fresh, she dug deep and got the win.
Fallon walked the first hitter, Diana Petrarca.
Next, the ace induced a fly out to a running Murphy in right for the first out.
Then, Fallon walked Francesca O’Kleasky, which put runners at first and second and the tying run at the plate.
That’s when Dwyer belted an RBI single through the middle and knocked in Petrarca, which inched the Oakers within 7-4.
Then, with runners at first and second, the right-hander earned a huge strikeout on Alyssa Garabedian for the second out before getting Olivia Saccoccio to fly out to Murphy in right for the final out.
“I was really tired,” Fallon said. “But it was definitely my team. My team bailed me out when I wasn’t doing my best. So I’m very thankful to have them for this game.”
Coventry had five errors during the battle while Pilgrim had zero.
The Pats host East Providence (4-2) next on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m.