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CRUSADER INVITATIONAL: Foley works screwball as Crusaders edge Sierra Vista

Sierra Vista’s softball team entered Tuesday averaging 11.4 runs a game in its first seven of the season.

Faith Lutheran senior Mosie Foley found the Mountain Lions’ kryptonite: her screwball.

Foley tossed an eight-inning four-hitter with 10 strikeouts, and the Crusaders held on for a 2-1 win over Sierra Vista in the championship game of the Crusader Invitational at Faith Lutheran.

“In championship game mode, I play a lot better,” Foley said. “I get faster and faster each time I pitch. The intensity kind of works for me.”

Foley retired 15 of the first 17 batters — eight on strikeouts — with the help of her screwball, a pitch she said she used “two or three times” each batter.

“When Mosie is on, she’s one of the best in the state,” Faith Lutheran coach John Chilman said. “She was absolutely unbelievable. She’s battled for four years. She’s amazing. That’s what we expect out of her.”

Foley also scored the game-tying run in the top of the seventh after leading off the inning with a single. She moved to third base on a double to right field by Claire Peck and scored on a fielder’s choice by Erin Gilchrist. Sierra Vista third baseman Daelynn Hilton attempted to throw Foley out at the plate, but her throw was too late.

“I thought we were set there,” said Chilman said, whose team had runners on second and third with no outs. “That’s why we got aggressive in the eighth, because we missed an opportunity to be aggressive in the seventh.”

Sierra Vista’s Kalei Watkins retired the next three batters to send the game into the bottom half of the inning, but the Mountain Lions failed to score.

Ellie Fried scored the winning run in the top of the eighth for the Crusaders (14-2) after reaching on a fielder’s choice. Sara Zelazny, who started the inning on second base because of the international tiebreaker rule, was thrown out at third on Fried’s grounder.

Fried stole second base and came around to score the go-ahead run on a groundout to third base by Clara Heislen.

“Today, we had quality at-bats,” Chilman said. “Even though (Watkins) is a great pitcher, we had very good at-bats all game.”

Foley threw out the first batter of the eighth inning on a sacrifice bunt, then struck out the next two batters to end the game.

“I felt my heart racing, but I just had to take a breath,” Foley said. “I really started slowing down a little bit. Not in like speed or accuracy but mentally. I had to slow down to concentrate and do my job.”

Peck went 2-for-3 for the Crusaders.

Sierra Vista’s Watkins, who finished 2-for-3 with an RBI, allowed five hits and one earned run in eight innings. She had seven strikeouts for the Mountain Lions (7-1).

Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at aferguson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0430. Follow him on Twitter: @af_ferguson

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