Saturday, April 30, 2011
BY ED MILLS
STAFF WRITERFAIR LAWN – Marissa Spinuzzi (Hurricanes 18U) worked herself into, then out of trouble most of the evening. She put herself in tough situations but whenever she needed to get a big out she made the crucial pitch that got her out of the jam.
A sophomore right-hander, Spinuzzi threw a complete-game four-hitter, striking out nine and walking nine to lead Fair Lawn past St. Mary, 4-1, in a Bergen County tournament first-round softball game Friday. Fair Lawn (6-5) will play the winner of today’s game between top-seeded Paramus and Pascack Hills on May 7 at Ridgewood at 4:30 p.m.
"I was battling my control a little but I was able to come through with strikes all the times they were threatening," Spinuzzi said. "Our team is resilient and we managed to stay focused every time they put people on base."
Seventeenth-seeded St. Mary (9-3), which had a seven-game winning streak snapped, stranded 11 runners, including leaving the bases loaded in the seventh inning.
Spinuzzi, who helped herself out of a first-and-second, one-out situation in the first by spearing a line drive to start an inning-ending double play, also did the job offensively. She stroked a two-out single up the middle in the bottom of the first and then after cleanup batter Jen Calabrase also singled, Samantha Colca drilled a two-run double down the left field line. The Cutters took a 2-0 advantage.
"I wasn’t looking for any pitch in particular, I just got something in my zone that I could drive," said Colca, a freshman second baseman. "We wanted to get on top early and then Marissa was able to keep the lead. This was a big, big win against a quality opponent."
Sixteenth-seeded Fair Lawn came into the game with four straight losses, falling to Wayne Hills, Paramus, Ramapo and Ridgewood.
"We had been about a week between games because of the weather and then we had to play the toughest part of our schedule," Fair Lawn coach Sue Benjamin said. "But I think we righted ourselves with a fine performance – offensive, defensive, pitching – all around, today."
A home run by sophomore catcher Alexis Bush leading off the third inning and Spinuzzi’s (2-for-3) RBI single in the fifth gave Fair Lawn a 4-0 lead.
Lauren Hozak scattered nine hits, striking out two and walking none in taking the loss for the Gaels. An RBI single by Megan Macaluso narrowed St. Mary’s gap to 4-1 in the top of the sixth but then Spinuzzi worked out of further trouble with runners at first and third by striking out two to end the inning. In the seventh, a single by Luana Natalico and a walk put runners on first and second with one out before Spinuzzi recorded a strikeout for the second out. After giving up her ninth base on balls to load the bases, Spinuzzi used a riser in a 2-2 count to get the final St. Mary batter on a strikeout.
"We had our opportunities, she [Spinuzzi] just set us down whenever we seemed like we might have a big inning," St. Mary coach Maria Fagan said. "Just give her all the credit."