Seraphs look to rebound after winning streak ends


Share post:

By Wayne Witkowski

Luck and a quality unbeaten streak ran out in the 13th game of the season for Mater Dei Prep’s softball team.

- Advertisement -

Now the Seraphs need to refocus as they look to wrap up a Shore Conference B Central Division championship and prepare for the Shore Conference and state tournaments.

Not only had Mater Dei won its first 12 games, but it also did not give up a run over the last six games of that stretch. That is until it blew an 8-5 lead in a 9-8 loss to St. Rose High School — a conference opponent it had beaten, 5-1, earlier in the season — May 5. Maggie Klatt batted in two runs in that game, as the Seraphs fell to 12-1.

“We’ve been playing very well. Our pitching has been very good,” coach Jeanne Dickinson said. “But then we played one of our worst games in the last two years [against St. Rose]. We made 11 errors all year up to that game and we made five errors that day. It was just an off day. Better now than in the tournaments.”

But now the pressure of upholding an unbeaten record is off, and Dickinson said she feels her team learned a lot from losing.

“This was absolutely a learning experience,” pitcher Paige Fernandez said. “We were 12-0 and feeling no one can beat us, and this was humbling. But we have to keep going and not take our foot off the gas pedal.”

Mater Dei (13-1) clinched its 14th conference championship, beating Ranney School, 8-1, May 9 and looked to beat Henry Hudson Regional High School May 10 to wrap up a top seed in the state tournament, which is based on the results of 15 games.

Mater Dei will look for an even farther advance in the state tournament than the past two years when it lost in the Non-Public, B South semifinals to St. Joseph High School of Hammonton.

In an unusual season for Dickinson in her 35 years as coach, the Seraphs this season added four transfers from Cardinal McCarrick High School, which closed last spring, and Fernandez felt the team apparently bonded quickly with the new players during a preseason trip to Orlando, Florida, and a series of scrimmages there.

“It happened right from the start; it’s crazy, like we’ve known each other all our lives,” Fernandez said.

And it helped throughout the season, as Mater Dei allowed only seven runs up until the St. Rose loss.

“After a couple of games, I was hitting my stride, but I have a great team behind me that has made the plays,” said Fernandez, who relies on a curve, a drop curve and a riser.

In 69 innings pitched in a 10-1 season, Fernandez has given up 39 hits and has a 0.76 ERA. She has 63 strikeouts to eight walks, as she does not overpower hitters but relies on them hitting balls to her fielders to make the plays.

Senior first baseman Klatt is providing the leadership in her fourth season in the starting lineup after leading the team in batting with a .476 average and team-best 17 RBIs. Shortstop Tyrah Graves is hitting .500 with 15 RBIs, and Fernandez is hitting .475 with 19 RBIs as a starter since her freshman year.

Catcher Samantha Napoli, one of the transfers, is hitting .452, and utility player Kayley Anthony is batting .405. Each have six RBIs. Both hit in the top of the order and add in the team speed that is better than usual.

It’s a formidable lineup that has scored eight or more runs in all but three games coming into the week.

Stay Connected


Current Issue

Latest News

Related articles

Lions skate past Monroe Township; gear up for conference tournament

The Middletown North High School hockey team is finding its stride on the ice with the 2022-23 postseason...

Eagles soar to six-game win streak with 57-52 victory over Colts Neck

MIDDLETOWN — There was no panic among the members of the Middletown South High School boys basketball team...

Lions defeat rival Eagles, 40-27, in Middletown wrestling showdown

MIDDLETOWN — The latest chapter on the mat between the Middletown North High School and Middletown South High...

Middletown South graduate Cranwell takes reins as Eagles’ coach

MIDDLETOWN — There has been a changing of the guard for the Middletown South High School girls basketball...