Pilgrim junior ace Cat Fallon pitched a complete-game gem, striking out 13 as the Patriots edged the Cranston West Falcons 1-0 in Division I softball at Brayton Park on Monday afternoon.
Fallon, who gave up just two hits during the game, explained that going into the Falcons’ house and shutting them out was difficult and gave credit to her team for making plays behind her.
“It definitely wasn’t easy,” Fallon said. “It takes a lot of hard work to shut out teams like that. So it was really a team effort. They were behind me when the balls were hit and they pushed across a run for me, so I was really thankful for my team.”
Fallon was out for three weeks because of a back injury earlier in the season, but now Pilgrim’s ace is rounding into form at just the right time.
“It was really rough coming back, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of things again, Fallon said.
Pilgrim head coach Paul Kennedy liked what he saw out of his No. 1 pitcher.
“She’s been back the last couple weeks and it’s slowly coming back and she was right on today,” Kennedy said.
In Fallon’s first start of the year, she struck out 14 against Lincoln. In her last four starts since the injury, the right-hander has struck out six, eight, and 10 before the 13 in this one.
“Right now, she’s pitching the way we need her to pitch in late May, hopefully into June,” Kennedy said. “She saved us today. She pitched a heck of a game. She got the big strikeout when we needed it.”
The game’s lone run came on a sacrifice fly from Pats’ junior Megan Cooney during the top of the third inning.
“She got a pitch that was up in the zone, a ball that she could get in the air and when we have a runner on third with less than two outs, that’s what we try to preach,” Kennedy said. “If it’s a pitch you think you can get in the air, get in the air and she did it deep enough, scored Karly (Evans) and you never know when that one run is going to stand up and today it did. Cat made sure that it did.”
With the win, Pilgrim improved its record to 12-2 and is assured a first-round bye come playoff time. The Pats will automatically move into the eight-team double elimination bracket.
On the other side, West sent its ace Livia Feole to the circle and she too did not disappoint. The junior also pitched a complete game, allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts.
“Livia did really well today,” West head coach Jeff Smith said. “It was probably her best day and her best competition.”
West had a chance to tie the game when star senior and Merrimack College commit Danielle Carmody led off the fourth with a double and then took third on a passed ball to the next batter. However, Fallon would shut it down after that, fanning the next two hitters before getting the last to pop out.
Overall, Smith was happy with his team’s effort throughout the contest.
“I think we played well,” Smith said. “We ended up having pretty much a flawless game defensively. We turned a couple of double plays when we had to, shut some innings down. We just couldn’t get the run in from third base with no outs.”
Pilgrim sophomore Emily Carter is Pilgrim’s No. 2 starter and she held it down while Fallon was injured. Coach Kennedy explained that Carter had recently dealt with her own injury, which was on her finger, but said that Carter warmed up on Monday for the first time in ten days and is ready to go.
Fallon and the rest of the Pats are eager for the postseason and would like another shot at defending champion Moses Brown.
“We’re dying to play them,” Fallon said. “We really can compete with anybody. So, I think that going into the playoffs is going to be just as good as the regular season, if not better.”