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Torregrossa’s grand slam one of three dingers for Garnet Valley in playoff opener

Garnet Valley's (16)Becca Halford is congratulated by teammates after she slugged a home run in the sixth inning against Haverford in a District 1 Class 5A playoff opener Monday afternoon at Garnet Valley High School. Halford also pitched the Jaguars to a 7-2 win to advance to the second round.

CONCORD >> Diane Torregrossa walked gingerly with a bag of ice strapped around her knee Monday.

Torregrossa felt a tweak while going after a grounder at third base. Luckily for Garnet Valley, she was able to shake it off and finish the game.

“When I went to go down for the ball, I kind of strained it,” she said.

Torregrossa hopes some rest will do the trick. She knows she has to stay healthy if the Jags hope to make a run at a District 1 Class 6A championship. Her value to the team was evident Monday.

Torregrossa belted a grand slam, one of three dingers on the day for No. 16 Garnet Valley in a 7-2 victory over Central League foe and 18th-seeded Haverford. The Jags will travel to No. 2 Spring-Ford for a second-round game Wednesday.

Winning pitcher Becca Halford, a sophomore, and freshman shortstop Morgan Mesaros also homered for the Jaguars. After their post-game meeting with coach George White, the three of them posed for a picture for the team’s Twitter account @GVHSSB

“We knew coming in today that it was a big day,” Torregrossa said. “We wanted this so badly. It just motivated us to get there and get it done.”
Torregrossa’s blast was the turning point and came after Haverford scored a pair of two-out runs in the top of the first to grab a 2-0 lead. Morgan Marchesani singled, Amber Moscoe ripped an RBI triple, and Anna Mefford laced a run-scoring single as the Fords had the early momentum.

Although she failed to reach base in this at-bat, Garnet Valley’s (21) Diane Torregrossa slugged a grand slam in the second inning to power the Jaguars to a 7-2 victory over Haverford in the opening round of the District 1 Class 6A softball playoffs. (PETE BANNAN/DFM)

But nobody on the Garnet Valley bench was overly concerned about the early deficit. The players knew that with their lineup, and solid pitching from Halford, they would have a few opportunities to score runs in bunches. So all they did was plate six runs in the second inning, sending nine batters to the plate, against Haverford starter Annabelle Donato, who exited after two innings. Halford singled, Kelly McLaughlin walked and Reece Gabriele was hit by a pitch. Kayleigh Saboja hit a comebacker to Donato, who fired to home to get the first out. Torregrossa, the Jags’ leadoff hitter and table-setter, stepped to the plate determined to knock in a run or two.

OK, so she drove in all four, including herself, with one swing of the bat. Torregrossa got her front foot down, kept her head parallel with her shoulders and belted the pitch over the fence in left-center.

All-Delco catcher Lindsey Hunt followed with a triple and came home to score on Mesaros’ two-run jack.

“In practice, they’re all hitting homers,” White said. “It was good to see it show in the biggest game of the year for us. We knew that Diane, Audrey (Shenk) and Morgan can do it. I was surprised they pitched to Morgan in that spot, with Lindsey on third. I wasn’t going to be surprised if they walked here there, but thankfully they threw to her.”

Garnet Valley had its hitting shoes on Monday. The Jags made hard contact all day and didn’t strike out once. They collected 10 hits. Eight of GV’s nine starters reached base at least once. The one player who failed to reach, freshman Annie Bechtold, was robbed of an extra-base hit thanks to a diving catch by Haverford center fielder Rachel Yocom.

“It was a good day to hit,” White said. “We’ve been preaching to put the ball in play, from top to bottom. We had too many strikeouts early in the

Garnet Valley catcher Lindsey Hunt tags out Haverford’s (8)McKenna Valente who was caught in a rundown in the seventh inning of the Jaguars’ 7-2 win in the first round of the District 1 Class 6A tournament.

season … and we weren’t giving ourselves a chance. But today we had some ground-ball outs but I’ll take those over strikeouts any time.”
Mesaros made a few sparkling plays at shortstop, in addition to going 2-for-4 with a longball. Mesaros is a highly-touted freshman from the Delco Chaos organization, where she plays with Drexel University-bound Hunt for the premier 18-and-under Gold squad. Mesaros was ranked No. 9 in 2017 on FloSoftball.com’s Hot 100 Class of 2021 rankings. She’s already committed to James Madison.

“I’m excited for the next four years,” she said.

Garnet Valley’s coaching staff is likely rubbing off on Mesaros. Allie White — the head coach’s daughter — set the career hits record at Neumann. Ali Alkins was a four-time All-Delco shortstop at Sun Valley and had a stellar career at Widener.

“She’s just an all-around stud,” White said. ‘She knows it all and she does everything really well. She’s smart, she knows the game, she runs the bases really well, she can hit and she can field. She’s the whole package.”

Halford pitched great after a shaky first inning. She hurled a complete game with six strikeouts, scattering seven hits without allowing a walk.

“When Becca’s doing well,” Mesaros said, “I feel like we’re all doing well. And that has really carried us this season. It hypes us all up and we all play better. We’re a team and we always have Becca’s back.”

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