Romero Tosses Gem, Carries Orange to Victory Again
By Tom Russo
CitrusTV Softball Beat Reporter
There are stars, and then there are superstars. At this point, Alexa Romero is firmly entrenched as one of the latter. The ace has single-handedly carried her team to victory this year time and again.
“I just think she had everything going for her,” said Head Coach Shannon Doepking. “She was able to go up and she was able to go in and out. Anytime she can get all her pitches working for her, she’s really tough to beat.”
Friday was no different as Romero pitched all seven innings in Syracuse’s (18-20, 7-6 Atlantic Coast) 4-0 victory over Duke (21-23, 8-8 Atlantic Coast). This game was the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Romero held the Blue Devils to a single hit in the entire contest, but her opposite number, Peyton St. George did her one better. St. George held the Orange hitless through the first four and two-thirds innings.
Nevertheless, Romero would not allow Duke to score, and her hitters acknowledged their pitcher’s role in the victory.
“We know that she’s gonna get everything done that she needs to do,” said shortstop Alicia Hansen. “She was shutting it down, and it took the hitters a while to figure it out. But she kept us in the game and we figured it out in the end. If it wasn’t for her, the score could’ve been a lot different.”
Romero also attributed part of her success to the gusting winds that blew throughout the game.
“I just really kept spinning the ball. I knew the wind was really really blowing,” said Romero. “I knew that if I literally just spin my ball as hard as I can, it’s gonna go somewhere, it’s gonna fly wherever. Fortunately it ended up really good and I kept getting strikeouts.”
Eventually, the Orange hitters began to figure out St. George and ultimately broke through in the fifth with back-to-back singles from Hansen and A.J. Kaiser. Kaiser’s single drove in Bryce Holmgren for the first run of the game.
“We changed our approach to moving into the back of the box and moving up on the plate to avoid the changeup,” said Hansen. “Once we moved to the back of the box, she was struggling getting her changeup for a strike.”
Holmgren hit her own single, allowing Jessica Skladal to score, before Hansen delivered the big blow of the game with a two-run double in the sixth.
Romero was thrilled when the offense finally broke through and gave her some support.
“Getting those four runs we had felt really good, knowing I didn’t have to go in and press really hard,” said Romero. “Not having to really, really hit the zone, it really helped me out a lot. Just having that little comfort helped a lot.”
Romero finished with 11 strikeouts in the complete-game shutout, marking her third consecutive start with double-digit strikeouts.
Due to inclement weather, the Orange and the Blue Devils will play a doubleheader on Saturday with the first matchup at 1:00. Coach Doepking confirmed Romero will get the ball in at least one of the games.
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