Browne, bats power Archbishop Wood past Little Flower

HORSHAM >> Kevin Rosini hasn’t asked Marisa Browne why she transferred to Archbishop Wood, but he’s sure glad he has her.

Browne, a sophomore, spent last season at St. Basil Academy. Now, she’s the certified ace for Archbishop Wood and has the Vikings on a roll. Wednesday, Browne showed more of the stuff that has the Wood staff so appreciative of her arrival as she spun a two-hit gem as Wood topped visiting Little Flower 8-1.

The righty struck out nine and held Little Flower scoreless for six innings while Wood’s bats collected 13 hits and drove in some runs.

“That’s been our struggle so far this season, we’ve been looking for the timely hit,” Rosini said. “(In Tuesday’s 6-1 win over Carroll), we had 16 hits but left 11 people on base and only got six runs out of it. Today, we talked about getting the hits with two outs.”

Browne was electric early, striking out four of the first six Little Flower hitters, giving her offense a nice launching pad to get going. The Vikings showed their appreciation by plating two in the first inning with DP Gianna Lancellotti ripping an RBI triple then scoring on a groundout.

In the bottom of the second, an error allowed leadoff hitter Julianna Donchez to score all the way from first as Wood took a 3-0 lead. With Browne dealing, that would’ve been enough but the Viking bats weren’t going to give up on a good thing.

“I start out with fastballs and see how they do against my speed,” Browne, who plays travel ball, said. “On the better hitters, I would move in movement pitches and if they were catching up, I’d throw a changeup or something.”

Browne has developed a strong chemistry with Wood catcher Delanie Boyle, though it wasn’t an automatic connection. The pitcher said her battery-mate has improved all over the board, especially at calling pitches and blocking balls in the dirt.

Wood’s ace didn’t gave up a hit in the fourth but the only other two base runners she allowed through four innings came via error. The sophomore said she’s getting better at shaking that off and going after the next hitter.

“Marisa’s done a great job for us and you can’t ask for more,” Rosini said. “She throws stirkes, she gets ahead of the hitters, she lets her defense make plays when she needs to and if you need a strikeout, she gets one. She’s done that all season and you can’t ask for more. She’s a bulldog out there, she’s a warrior, she wants the ball and she wants it the whole game.”

In the third, shortstop Katie Barrett came up with a huge two-out hit to drive in two runs off a double. Boyle came up with a two-run hit of her own in a three-run fifth for Wood with No. 9 hitter Jess Atwell driving in the other run on a groundout.

No. 2 hitter Taylor Carter had three hits as did third baseman Sophia Kent hitting out of the No. 5 spot, also scoring twice. Barrett had two hits and eight of the nine hitters had at least one hit.

“We’re starting to see the experience of being on the field,” Browne said. “It was a little rough in the winter because we had to start inside and hadn’t seen as much live pitching. We came together, the hitting came together, defense came together and it’s shown with more games of experience.”

Wood’s defense was very stout minus the two errors, so Browne could go and attack the hitters with confidence. She struck out the side in the fifth and got her ninth strikeout for the game’s final out.

Prior to giving up a seventh inning run against Carroll, Browne had put together a 26-inning scoreless run in PCL play and has given up just four runs in the team’s last four starts, all wins.

“She’s a smart kid and understands things out of her control are going to happen on the field,” Rosini said. “She also knows she has the stuff to get people out. With her and Delanie working behind the plate, they’re getting a good chemistry and trust each other. Marisa’s been around the block too and that helps.”

Wood gets right back to it Thursday when it hosts West Catholic then travels to William Tennent for a Friday nonleague game. Browne said she has an array of arm exercises to stay loose and ices her arms plenty after starts, so she’ll be ready for the heavy workload.

“We just need to keep a good attitude and stay focused,” Browne said.

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