There’s no time like the playoffs to get healthy.
St. Mary’s of Lancaster Softball players Mackenzie Suto and Hannah Kwasniewski had both been dealing with injuries this season.
Their fortunes changed Saturday.
The pair showed off their newfound health as they led the Lancers to a 6-1 win over the Sacred Heart Sharks at Canisius College’s Demske Sports Complex, earning a spot in the Monsignor Martin Softball final.
“Six runs are typically enough when Suto throws a good game,” St. Mary’s head coach Kevin Hufford said. “She’s been struggling with a sore back most of the season. Today was the first day she really felt loose.”
Suto was lights out on the bump throwing a one-hit, six-strikeout complete game.
In a similar way, Kwasniewski hadn’t been 100 percent since rolling her ankle in a game earlier this month and had been in a bit of a slump.
The sophomore led the way offensively Saturday scoring three runs, on two hits and got on base with an error on her third at-bat.
“She’s been in her head lately,” Hufford said of Kwasniewski. “She’s been a little tentative since rolling her ankle. It was good that it came back today.”
St. Mary’s got two runners on in the bottom of the first inning, but Sharks’ pitcher Clare Falkowski got herself out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout.
The Lancers took advantage of a couple of defensive errors by Sacred Heart to pick up their first runs of the game in the bottom of the third.
Kwasniewski started it off when she got to second base thanks to two fielding errors. The sophomore moved over to third on a well-executed sacrifice bunt by Caitlin Bish.
Another error brought home Kwasniewski. The Lancers could only muster one run after loading the bases when Katie Fahey drove in Bish to make 2-0.
The Sharks answered back in the fourth with their only run of the game.
After getting the first two batters to pop-up, Suto walked Allison Abruzzino and give her only hit of the day, a double to Martha Balthasar. On the next at-bat, Abruzzino stole home on a passed ball.
St. Mary’s scored again in the bottom of the fourth as a defensive error helped bring home Kwasniewski extend the Lancer lead to 3-1.
Sacred Heart had trouble putting away the Lancers in the sixth.
After the Sharks popped-up the first two batters, Sarah Hapeman and Kwasniewski had back-to-back singles. Bish drove them both home on a double. Then Bish came across the plate herself for the Lancers’ final run thanks to another Sacred Heart error.
St. Mary’s of Lancaster will play the winner of Mount Mercy/Nardin in the Monsignor Marin championship game.
The Mount Mercy/Nardin semifinal was suspended Saturday night in the top of the second inning due to lighting and will resume at 2 p.m. on Sunday, the original time for the championship game. A time/place for the championship is yet to be determined.
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