MMA Wins Monsignor Martin Association Softball Titleby cnewman
Mount Mercy won its first Monsignor Martin Association softball title since 2004 by making quick work of Holy Angels, winning a mercy rule-shortened, five-inning, 10-0 championship victory over Holy Angels at a very sunshine-y Sunshine Park in West Seneca.
Junior Alison Benz struck out seven in four innings of work and allowed just three hits.
Nicki Fitzgerald, a freshman, had a two-out, two-run triple to put Mount Mercy on top, 2-0, in the second. Her sister, junior Meghan Fitzgerald, had a two-run double during a five-run third. Mercy added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Mount Mercy got a nice defensive play to end the top of the second. With runners on second and third, Benz fielded a grounder by Anna Playfair and threw home to senior catcher Abby Campbell, who blocked the plate and tagged out a sliding Rachel Ziarnowski.
Mercy went ahead in the bottom of the inning when Nicki Fitzgerald, the team's No. 9 hitter, pounded a deep shot to right that went for a triple to score Kayla Larson, who had walked, and Kaitlyn Murphy, who reached on an error.
It was a big hit on what was already a special day for Nicki Fitzgerald. Upon reaching third base, she heard chants of "Happy Birthday!" from her dugout. She heard it a few more times when she came to the dugout after the inning.
Mount Mercy batted around the next two innings. The five-run third had Benz and Campbell single, and both came around on another big two-out hit by a Fitzgerald as Meghan blooped a double to center on a 2-2 count.
Murphy smacked a double up the middle to score Meghan Fitzgerald for a 5-0 lead. Murphy scored on a single by Chelsie Crawford. Crawford would score on an error in the outfield.
Holy Angels starter Sarah Brown had some control problems in the fourth, walking five batters. Chelsea Cortade scored on a fielder's choice, Benz scored on an error and Larson scored on an RBI single by Meghan Fitzgerald.
Benz, who struck out the side in the third, faced only four batters in the fourth and fifth, both times stranding runners who had singled. Benz had two strikeouts in the fifth and got the final out on a groundout that she fielded and threw to Courtade at first.