By Laura Amato
Camryn Roy stepped into the box last Thursday and did her best to keep her breathing — and her swing — level. The breathing was a bit more challenging.
Roy’s swing, however, was picture-perfect, as she connected for the game-winning hit to lift The Mary Louis Academy to a 3-2 victory over Fontbonne Hall in eight innings.
“I just wanted to hit the ball and get my team the win,” said Roy, who was 0-for-3 prior to her heroics. “It was a special day with it being Senior Day and everything and there’s a lot of pressure, but you want it for your team, not for yourself.”
The Hilltoppers struggled to find consistency at the plate throughout the game, unable to take advantage of a handful of early-game base runners. It’s been a problem all season and the squad has worked to find consistent confidence at the plate and in the field.
That changed against the Bonnies, as Mary Louis never gave up hope it could stage a late-game comeback.
“They needed it all year. All year they were worried and they were playing a little nervous,” Hilltoppers coach Joe Ferrandino said. “So they didn’t know what they were going to do and they were playing a little timid. Today, I think, it really helped them see that we can finish the season the right way.”
Fontbonne took advantage of Mary Louis mistakes in the top of the fourth inning, plating two runs on an error in the outfield. Hilltoppers pitcher Elizabeth Hanover didn’t let the miscue disrupt her rhythm, however, and the senior kept her team in the league tilt, racking up seven strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
“Liz actually was hurt and this was her first game back,” Ferrandino said. “So to come back and pitch a complete game, that’s amazing. That’s why she’s the team leader.”
Mary Louis made sure Hanover’s efforts in the circle didn’t go to waste, tying the game in the bottom of the eighth inning on Angelina Chaves’ pinch-hit, two-run double.
“I got up to bat and I was ready and I just knew this was it,” Chaves said. “I had to do it for my team and for my family and I just knew everything was dead on and you just have to do what you have to do.”
The hit was enough to jumpstart the Hilltoppers and, suddenly, the squad wasn’t just inching towards confidence; it was bursting with it.
Hanover worked out of a jam in the top of the eighth and Roy followed up with her game-winner, slicing a hit into the gap between short and third with the bases loaded.
“We really depend on each other a lot, so I think that being able to come back allowed us have more fun in that last inning and that let us be able to win,” Roy said.
It’s a confidence-boosting victory as the Hilltopers turn their attention toward the playoffs. The season hasn’t always been pretty and the comeback hasn’t always worked out perfectly, but with this win, Mary Louis is certain it can keep building.
“We just need to believe in ourselves and know that we can do it,” Ferrandino said. “We’ve been on the short end of the stick a few games, but that’s all a growing process. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”