Tologs rally behind ace

After its first at-bat of the game, Flintridge Prep's softball team had already achieved more offensively than it had in the entire game the last time it faced All-Area pitcher Jessica Ferri and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.

Still, early offensive success for the Rebels wasn't enough, as the Tologs rallied for a 6-2 nonleague victory on Tuesday afternoon at Flintridge Sacred Heart.

“We hit the ball well,” said Tologs Coach Kirk Nishiyama, whose team defeated Prep, 4-0, last season on the strength of a perfect game from Ferri. “I think this was a good step.”

With the win, the Tologs improved to 3-2 and most importantly to Nishiyama continued to gain experience with Mission League play beginning next week. Prep fell to 1-4, a disappointing start after a rebound season a year ago.

“Overall, we should have one or two more wins,” said Rebels Coach Julie Jaime. “I expect a lot of things from this team.”

Jaime was happy with her team's performance on Tuesday, though, particularly against the daunting Ferri, and believes her team is headed in the right direction with Prep League play beginning this week.

“Getting a hit makes us 100% better than last season,” said Jaime in reference to Ferri's perfecto of a season ago. “We did a good job of putting the ball in play.

“We competed well with them.”

Still, Ferri pitched well, striking out 13, allowing three hits, walking two and allowing one earned run.

It clearly wasn't Ferri, the reigning Mission League Pitcher of the Year, at her best, though, as, reportedly, a few nagging injuries have hampered her.

“To be honest, she's trying to do a little bit too much, but she's a competitor,” said Nishiyama of Ferri (3-2). “She's the backbone of this team.”

Freshman Stephanie Bathke drew a walk to start the game and moved around the bases on a wild pitch, a sacrifice and a passed ball to net the Rebels a quick 1-0 lead.

But the Tologs bats didn't stay quiet for long. In all, Sacred Heart tallied nine hits, with Paige Conti, Taylor Crotty and junior varsity call-up Lauren Torres garnering two hits each.

Torres, in her first varsity at-bat, dropped a single in between four Rebels in shallow right-center field that scored Crotty, who had dropped a single just over third base, and Hayley Mojica, who had singled through a huge gap at second base, for a 2-1 lead. Sacred Heart was no doubt hitting them where Prep wasn't.

Torres finished the game two for three with two runs batted in and a run scored.

“She'll stay [on varsity],” Nishiyama smiled. “She can help us.”

Bathke reached base again in the third on an error and then stole second and moved to third on an error, but was tagged out trying to take home on a passed ball.

A Meghan Luera single plated Conti in the third to move the Tologs' lead to 3-1 before a two-out single by Lydia Kay, who went two for two with a walk, was followed by a Denise van der Goot double that scored courtesy runner Sydney Golombeck.

A 3-2 deficit was as close as the Rebels would get, however.

Sacred Heart exploded for three runs in the bottom of the fourth thanks to singles by Crotty and Torres and a two-run triple by Alanna Pires, who later scored on a Conti sacrifice fly.

From there, Ferri closed the door, as she retired nine of the final 10 batters she faced, striking out six of them.

In contrast, Prep used three pitchers, with Kay and van der Goot allowing two and four runs respectively, through the first four innings. Gina Crissman pitched the final two innings, tossing perfect ball.

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