It's hard to say whether Sam Sauer looks more intimidating wearing a helmet or a mask.
The pitcher from Our Lady of Mercy Academy can beat opponents in a variety of ways, regardless of headgear, as she did in yesterday's 6-4 win over Holy Trinity in CHSAA softball.
Wearing a batting helmet at the plate, the cleanup hitter went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Wearing a fielder's mask in the circle, the former CHSAA Pitcher of the Year allowed six hits and two earned runs with four strikeouts in a complete game.
"I've worn it since I was little and just stuck with it," Sauer said of the mask, which looks like a visor with a face guard attached and is more commonly seen on infielders. "It's just one of those things that gives me a little more confidence on the mound."
Her bat also gave her a little confidence. Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the third, Sauer hit an RBI single up the middle to cut the deficit to one. Julia Felicione followed with a dribbler to the mound that allowed the tying run to score on the overthrow home. Anna Petrucci then drove in the go-ahead run, lining a single up the middle to give OLMA a 5-4 lead.
Speedy centerfielder Stefanie Pia helped protect that lead in the top of the fourth. With runners on second and third and the outfield deep, Pia came in on a scorcher hit to shallow center by Holy Trinity's Jordan Catalano. Pia fell to her knees and made a shoestring catch to save two runs and end the inning.
"I saw it was a hard-hit line drive and I knew it was dropping," Pia said. "I had to go down low to make sure I got it."
Pia also went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Kristen Boody and Gabrielle Tagios each had a sacrifice fly.
Nicole Barbato gave Holy Trinity a 3-2 lead in the third with a triple to deep left that scored Victoria D'Alessandro. Barbato came around to score after a fly ball by Bernadette Mullance was dropped in right.
OLMA (10-9) swept the three-game season series against Holy Trinity (8-11) but the two will likely meet again when the playoffs begin May 16.
"This was a huge statement," OLMA coach Meghan McArdle said. "This gives us confidence for when we do see them again. So hopefully, we'll be successful."