Franco hurls 3rd straight shutout for Lady Flashes|[02/29/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 29, 2008

Another shutout, another one-hitter and another win for Sarah Franco and the St. Aloysius Lady Flashes softball team.

Franco struck out 10 and allowed just one hit, a fourth inning single, as St. Al (3-0) blasted Pelahatchie 15-0 Thursday night in Division 6-1A action at Bazinsky Park. Next up, Warren Central today in the Lady Vikes Softball Invitational at 4 p.m.

“I heard they (WC) had a really tough practice (Thursday). I guess they’ve seen we’ve been doing really good,” Franco said after recording her third straight shutout to start the season. Thursday’s strikeout total gives her 42 in three games.

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“I guess my fastball, curve and change-up have all been working a lot,” Franco, a two-time All-Warren County pitcher, said. “I worked a lot on my change-up because I haven’t had that good of a change-up.”

Her velocity looks even better, at least it did to the overmatched Lady Chiefs. St. Al’s fielders did not record an out until a nice running catch by Taylor George in center field robbed Meagan Goss of a double in the top of the fourth. Until then, Franco had struck out nine of 11 faced, the lone base runners coming on an error and her only issued walk.

“I really can’t say if I’m pitching faster or not. Maybe there’s a few more miles per hour but they haven’t put a gun on me. We’re also playing different teams,” Franco said.

Warren Central (3-4) will be a much different team than what they’ve faced so far.

“It’s going to be our first challenge,” St. Al coach Gene Rogillio said. “Florence had a pretty good pitcher but she doesn’t have the speed Tiffany (Fuller) has. And it’s going to be a challenge for Sarah against their hitters.”

The two teams are scheduled to meet today in the first game of the Lady Vikes Invitational this afternoon at 4.

“I’m going to have to locate my pitches a lot better. Mandy (Fuller) and Andi (Hearn) are really good hitters. I’m going to have to use my change-up,” Franco said.

Pelahatchie’s Haley Simpson had no such success against St. Al. She walked eight, uncorked seven wild pitches which led to six St. Al runs, and was tagged for seven hits.

St. Al’s big inning was the third where it scored 11 runs to go up 14-0. George started the rally with her second hit of the game, an RBI single to score Stephanie Gwin. Franco followed a batter later with a two-run single to right. Sara Howington blasted a two-run triple to right and K.K. DeRossette capped the flurry with a RBI double to left-center.

The Lady Flashes ended the contest by run rule with a single run in the fourth. George reached on an error, went to third on Haley Heggins’ pinch hit to left and then scored on Simpson’s seventh wild pitch of the game.

George, Howington and Mallory McCullough all scored three times for St. Al.