The Fenwick and Elmwood Park High School softball teams engaged in a low-scoring battle with respective aces pitching for both squads on Saturday. In the end, the Friars scored late to emerge with a 2-1 victory in the Elmwood Park Sectional final of the Class 3A playoffs.
Fenwick (21-15) advanced past the host Tigers to play Glenbard South in the Nazareth Supersectional on June 3 (past deadline) in La Grange Park.
Tied at 1-1 with one out in the top of the seventh against Elmwood Park, Fenwick shortstop Ashley Parenti hit a double to centerfield. With Parenti aboard in scoring position and two outs, rightfielder Michelle Lang reached first base safely on an error by Tigers first baseman Ariana Kelly, which allowed Parenti to score from second giving the Friars a 2-1 lead which proved just enough for victory.
"If we just keep putting the ball in play, eventually [the other team] is going to make a mistake," Parenti said. "So we wanted to keep putting it in play and make something happen."
Fenwick pitcher Valerie Perrelli capped off a stellar pitching performance in the bottom of the seventh when the talented sophomore struck out two batters followed by Elmwood Park's Ariana Kelley ground out to end the game. Perrelli threw a complete game, allowing one unearned run on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks for her ninth consecutive victory.
Although Perrelli gave up a leadoff hit in four of seven innings, the Elmwood Park native kept her composure and emerged from those potentially dangerous frames unscathed.
Elmwood Park scored its lone run in the fifth, aided by consecutive fly ball errors from the Friars' Sage Juveland and Lang.
Perrelli praised her teammates for truly earning a team win.
"Our whole team is excited, and we just all came together when it mattered most," she said. "I think that's what led us to success. It's a team sport and we all came to play."
Lang went 1-for-2 with an RBI, while centerfielder Jenna Cairo and Parenti both finished 1-for-3 at the plate.
After Perrelli drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third inning, pinch runner Deirdre Haefner advanced on a wild pitch by Elmwood Park pitcher Gabby Uvelli. Haefner then scored the Friars' first run on the afternoon when Tigers catcher Alex Schmidt overthrew Uvelli following the wild pitch. Uvelli was the tough luck loser, scattering three hits and striking out five for Elmwood Park (19-11).
Previous to Monday's game, Fenwick had won four games in the playoffs, outscoring the opposition 36-5.