In the final regular-season game for both teams at Bandits Stadium in Rosemont, Fenwick got things done late against Naperville Central and it all started with a great at-bat by Jessica Mrozek.
With her side trailing by a run and with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Mrozek fouled off pitch after pitch before lacing a single to left field off Central pitcher Keegan Hayes.
“I face (Hayes) a lot in travel,” Mrozek said. “We play for the same organization so I kind of knew going in what she threw. But I just choked up, shortened my swing a little, and kept battling until I got a pitch I liked.”
After Mrozek’s single, Fenwick’s Ashley Parenti walked and then Genesis Fuentes hit a bloop single to right field that scored both runners, effectively giving the Friars a 2-1 win over the No. 8 Redhawks.
“This team never gives up,” Fenwick coach Mike Marrese said. “We keep battling and defensively today, we were spectacular. But I thought (Hayes) and both of our pitchers did a super job today.”
Fenwick (16-16) earned a 4-2 edge in hits over Central (24-7) in a rough day for batters from start to finish. The Redhawks, who have piled up hits all season, suddenly are struggling at the plate.
“We batted 20 2/3 innings this week and scored four runs,” Central coach Andy Nussbaum said. “We had two hits today and one of those might have been an error.”
Fenwick turned double plays in the first and third innings to help starting pitcher Mrozek from suffering any damage in her three innings. Valerie Perrelli spelled Mrozek to start the fourth, and each Fenwick pitcher only gave up a single to Naperville Central.
Hayes was equally good in striking out three and pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, capped by a strikeout.
Central’s Lindsay Gonzalez walked to start the sixth and reached third on a throwing error. Kaitlyn Skarecky’s grounder to second scored Gonzalez for the game’s first run.
After Mrozek’s at-bat sparked Fenwick’s two-run rally, Fuentes entered off the bench and played the hero with a bloop single down the right-field line.
“I told (Fuentes) when she went up to the plate that all we needed was a hit,” Marrese said. “Because I told the runner at two that with any kind of hit, she was coming in and scoring.”
Fenwick shortstop Parenti put an exclamation point on the win with a fine diving stop in Central’s final at-bat.