Marino’s blast, Warne’s arm spark Hilltoppers past CK

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The Mary Louis Academy softball team needed a boost and senior catcher Danielle Marino provided it.

In the top of the fourth inning against Christ the King, she hit a bomb to left field that fell just short of the fence, but she used her speed to hustle for an inside-the-park home run.

“My home run gave the team confidence,” Marino said. “I guess the team looked at it as, ‘If Dee can hit, we can hit.’”

Marino’s homer was just the start as the Hilltoppers, who scored two more runs in the seventh to go on to beat Christ the King 3-0 in a CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens game Wednesday at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village.

Mary Louis Coach Ginny Peiser praised the slugger.

“Danie [Marino] comes through once again,” Peiser said. “How she goes is how the team goes. Having that big home run started us up. When the youngsters see her hit, they’ll start to hit. When she is up, the team is up.”

With the win, Mary Louis improves to 2-1 in league play, while Christ the King drops to 1-3. Peiser called the Royals probably one of her team’s closest rivalries this year and said how TMLA plays against them is something to base their season on.

“How we play against them is a moral booster, because they are very similar to us,” she said. “I thought today we just played awesome. [Our] defense made the difference for us today. Our infield played the best game they’ve had.”

The Hilltoppers’ defense all started with pitcher Rebecca Warne. The sophomore hurler struck out three and tossed a no-hitter until there were two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Christ the King catcher Lisa Buetuer broke it up with a single through the hole in short.

“I was a little nervous [in the bottom of the seventh], letting a couple of girls on base,” Warne said. “I knew the defense was behind me and I was confident.”

The Hilltoppers’ inexperienced infield of Liz Evangelou, Katherine Postel, Jen Falcone and Meagan Walls, played a phenomenal game with no errors, helping to hold the Royals to just one hit.

Mary Louis tacked on two runs in the top of the seventh, which Marino led off with a double. She advanced to third on an Evangelou ground-out, and later scored when Mabel Vargas hit a ball back to Christ the King starter Olivia Auman, who struck out six. Auman fielded the ball and looked Marino back to the third and then threw to first, but Marino hustled home. Vargas later scored on an RBI single by Warne to give TMLA a 3-0 lead.

Peiser said if her team plays the way they did against Christ the King, they can have a successful season.

“As long as we play the defense and execute well, we’re going to put some pressure on people,” she said. “That’s all I ask them to do — put pressure and execute. We’ll see what happens.”

For Christ the King, which is coming off a 13-5 loss to Molloy, a very frustrated Head Coach Frank Florio felt that offense was the problem today.

“We were hitting the ball right at people,” he said. “I think our bats were sleeping today.”

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