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Mepham shuts down South Side

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The Mepham softball team continued its strong start to the season while South Side is still searching for answers to its disappointing campaign.

Alanna Morse had three hits and three RBIs and and four Lady Pirate pitchers combined on a three-hitter as Mepham cruised to an 11-0 Conference AB-I/II road victory over the winless Lady Cyclones on an overcast and chilly April 11 evening.

Gianna LaSpina added two hits and two RBIs and Hailey Guerrero hit her first home run of the season for the Lady Pirates (5-1, 4-1 Conference AB-I), who have won three straight since a 2-0 loss at Calhoun on April 2 for their only blemish of 2019.

“I think getting to know each other as a team and practicing really hard and sticking together and showing our skills to each other [has resulted in the strong start],” Morse said.

Morgan Gilligan had two singles and Margaret McGrath added another for South Side (0-7, 0-6 Conference AB-II), which was shut out for the second time this season. The Lady Cyclones have scored just 13 runs during their losing streak.

Mepham struck first in the third inning on shortstop Stefanie Simone’s RBI double before putting the game away in the fourth. Lily Yepez and Guerrero walked to begin the frame and both scored on Morse’s ground-rule double to right. LaSpina drove in Morse with a single to right to make it 4-0 and eventually scored from second on Simone’s infield single to the pitcher, not stopping as the throw was being made to first base.

Morse and LaSpina again combined for consecutive RBI singles in the fifth inning to increase the Lady Pirates’ lead to 7-0.

“I think I’m seeing the ball pretty well,” Morse said.

Mepham batted around in the seventh inning to cap the scoring. Yepez struck out swinging, but advanced to first on a wild pitch just before Guerrero’s home run down the left field line. Morse then singled and eventually scored on another wild pitch and pinch-hitter Jessica Tucci singled home Jenna Giliberti, who had walked, for the game’s final run.

The offense was more than enough for the Lady Pirate hurlers. Kayleigh Roth started and pitched two innings before yielding to eventual winning pitcher Sydney LaMagra, who retired the side in order in the third. Emma Greiner and Kayla Bourquin split the final four innings and combined for five strikeouts.

“I have four great pitchers and it’s been our way right now that everybody plays,” Mepham coach Brenda Dolan said.

Gilligan hung tough in her six-plus innings and fanned five batters.

“She made incredible pitches all day,” South Side assistant coach Mike DiGiaimo said. “She induced weak contact all day. Even when you look in that fourth inning, there were three balls that just got through.”

Mepham kept pace with MacArthur and Calhoun for early supremacy in the conference. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for South Side, which begins a six-game road trip that includes visits to four conference foes.