Regina scores 10 runs in first innings and scampers past Mercy, 14-6, in league final
Detroit – Meghan Berlin hit the first pitch she saw with purpose on Monday and it quickly changed the momentum of the game.
Farmington Hills Mercy scored twice in the top of the first inning and Warren Regina answered in the bottom half on Berlin’s three-run home run and the Saddlelites overpowered Mercy, 14-6, in the Catholic League A-B Division final at Detroit Mercy.
Melina Livingston’s three-run home run in the second gave Regina a 6-2 lead and a four-run third broke the game open for the 2015 league champions.
“I was sitting on (a pitch in) the middle to the out(side),” Berlin said. “I had made an error in the top of the innings so I had to do something. It was scary in the first inning. Someone just had to get it started.”
Marisa Muglia went the distance for Regina and had one bad inning. Mercy scored four runs on five hits in the sixth to cut Regina’s lead to 11-6 before the Saddlelites answered with three in the bottom half.
Muglia struck out seven and gave up 10 hits, and, for the most part, had the Mercy batters off balance.
“They’re a good hitting team,” Muglia said. “I was keeping the ball up in the sixth. In the other innings I was keeping my changeup down.
“We’ve been working for this all year. We’ve had really good chemistry this year and we just have to keep doing our thing.”
Livingston, a junior third baseman, had an outstanding game as the leadoff hitter. She went 3-4 with three runs scored, four RBI and two doubles. She also reached base on a walk, one of eight the two Mercy freshmen pitchers (Olivia Iafrate and Samantha Shea) allowed.
“We were hitting the ball good in that first inning,” Mercy coach Alec Lesko said. “Then that three-run homer took some of the wind out of our sails. We’re young on the mound. We knew we had to play a great game to win. We had to keep the ball in the park.”
Sophie VanAcker, Mercy’s senior third baseman and a State Champs Player of the Year candidate, played well as she had two hits and reached base safely four times in five plate appearances.
Despite the convincing win, Regina’s fourth in five games against the defending league champions, coach Diane Laffey said it’s never easy.
“It definitely helps when you’ve beaten a team three times,” she said. “This is one of the best hitting team I’ve had. It’s fun and it never gets old.”
This was Regina’s 13th league title, all with Laffey as coach.