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Rice strikes out 11 as St. Francis Prep tames Royals

Johanna Rice was in a groove early.

The St. Francis Prep senior, usually a contact pitcher, stuck out five of the first nine Christ the King batters she faced. Rice expertly pounded the strike zone and changed the eye level of the hitters.

“She was just on,” Terriers Coach Anne Marie Rich said. “She is consistent. I just think her pitches were working better today, more so than usual.”

Rice finished with 11 strikeouts, scattered five hits and walked none as she shutout the Royals 8-0 in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens softball at Gil Hodges Field in Brooklyn on Saturday morning. Christ the King started hitting Rice a bit after the third, but not enough to scratch out any runs.

“In the first few innings I was very surprised because I knew they are a hitting team,” Rice said of her early success. “They probably got used to me and started hitting.”

The St. Francis Prep (5-2) bats awakened in the top of the third inning. The Terriers pounded out seven hits, including four straight up the middle, to bring home five runs to take a 6-0 lead. A two-run single over second by senior Tiffany Beizer highlighted the scoring barrage. SFP scored its first run on Therese Quinn’s run-scoring single in the first inning. It took them some time to get comfortable with Christ the King starter Olivia Auman.

“Her rise got us a couple of times on the outside corner,” Rich said. “But they made the adjustment.”

The offensive output was just another sign that St. Francis Prep’s order is rounding into form, especially with No. 2 hitter Nicole Weinman back from injury. She was two-for-four and scored a run. Auman and sophomore Gabby Gonzalez each had two hits for Christ the King (1-5), which stranded runners at second in the fourth, fifth and sixth.

“I think everyone is getting use to the pitches that we are seeing,” Rice said. “We are kind of on our game now.

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