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Softball: Bri Lagroteria sparks EHT rally, finishes with 5 RBIs against Mainland Regional

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By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — When you don’t cash in on your opportunities early, the Egg Harbor Township softball team is going to make you pay. Mainland Regional learned that lesson on Tuesday afternoon. The Mustangs loaded the bases in each of the first two innings but failed to score, and the Eagles responded with two runs in the bottom of the second seven more in the third to build an 9-1 lead before running away with an 11-1 win in six innings to remain undefeated. Mainland (7-4) started off hot, as leadoff batter Mackenzie Brennan doubled to start the game and scored on Kenzie Mindish’s single down the left-field line. The Mustangs then loaded the bases with just one out, but Eagles starter Nicole Wisser was able to work out of the jam by getting a strikeout and a groundout. The Mustangs loaded the bases again in the second inning with two outs on a hit batsman and a walk, but Wisser got Sam Morton to bounce into a fielder’s choice to end the threat. Mainland Regional pitcher Gillian McCarthy delivers to the plate during the Mustangs' loss to Egg Harbor Township on Tuesday. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O'Sullivan) Mainland Regional pitcher Gillian McCarthy delivers to the plate during the Mustangs’ loss to Egg Harbor Township on Tuesday. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O’Sullivan) “We didn’t play up to our potential today, but games like this — like the game in the state playoffs last year (a 1-0 loss to Hammonton) — is going to bring us together. And that’s what you hope. You hope to learn something, and to be brought together from a loss like this,” said Mainland coach Frank Marascio. “We knew we squandered some opportunities. Timely hits are important, but I take nothing away from (EHT). That’s a good team.” Working out of early trouble sparked Egg Harbor Township’s offense, as Bri Logroteria singled home two runs in the bottom of the second to give Egg Harbor Township (7-0) the lead for good at 2-1. Mainland starting pitcher Gillian McCarthy worked out of trouble by getting a pop-up, but the Eagles poured it on in the third inning with six hits, a walk and a Mustangs error. Kate Korte singled in a run to make it 3-1 and Ella Glenn plated a run with a bloop single to right before Cris McElhinney ripped a two-run single to left to push the lead to 6-1. Lagroteria followed with a two-run single to left, scoring Glenn and McElhinney, and Tori Szrom capped the rally with a bloop double to shallow center that scored Lagroteria to make it 9-1. Lagroteria, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, finished the day 2-for-3 with five RBIs. McElhinney, the No. 8 hitter, added a hit, run, RBI and a walk, and Glenn was 1-for-1 with a walk, RBI and a run scored out of the No. 7 slot in the batting order. EHT shortstop Cris McElhinney makes a play to first during the Eagles' win over Mainland. EHT shortstop Cris McElhinney makes a play to first during the Eagles’ win over Mainland. “They do keep coming through for us,” EHT coach Mary Dunlap said of the bottom of the order. “We keep telling them, some days you’re going to have an off day and some days you’re going to be on. That’s the luxury of being on a team. It comes and goes, and you have to share the wealth.” Marascio said playing a team such as EHT is a good learning experience for a Mustangs team that starts five sophomores and a freshman. “We are young. Last year, we did some good things and had one of our best records in a while, and I think we have that potential again this year,” he said. “Games like this show these young kids that there is another level and that’s where we need to be. It’s a learning experience for them. It’s experience period. Experiencing playing against girls who are really good, like EHT. So when these girls get one year older or two years older, they’ll be in their spot, hopefully.” Dunlap said she knew Mainland was going to provide a test for her team, and she’s glad her girls were able to pass that test and remain unbeaten. “It was a great test for us. They have a good little team, and I knew we were going to have to fight to win this game. The girls were definitely up for it, and so was (Mainland). The first couple of innings were tight and we dodged a bullet there. But that’s why you play seven,” Dunlap said. “It feels good. We just take it one game at a time. We don’t look too far ahead. We’re just taking it one game at a time and hoping to keep it rolling.” Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays [adsense]

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