Romero’s Energy Feeds Orange in Walk-Off Win
By Tom Russo
CitrusTV Softball Beat Reporter
The definition of ‘ace’ is “a person who excels at a particular sport or other activity.” For the Syracuse softball team, Alexa Romero certainly qualifies as an ace.
Her fire and poise led Syracuse (13-18, 3-4 Atlantic Coast) to a 9-1 victory over Notre Dame (19-11, 3-4) on Friday.
“Having Lex on the mound is just such a great feeling,” said Shortstop Alicia Hansen. “It’s, like, a special feeling when you’re out there, you just trust her and you’re confident in her.”
Hansen went 2-4 with a double, a single, and three runs batted in on the day. Although neither hit came until the fifth inning, Hansen never was concerned with the Orange ace in the circle.
“When Lex has that game mode mindset she is on it,” said Hansen. “I believe that every single pitch she throws is going to be her best pitch that she has.”
Head Coach Shannon Doepking sees Romero as one of the best in the ACC and a leader for this Syracuse roster.
“I think what you got to see is a leader leading this program and stepping up for us and holding us in it until we could figure it out offensively,” said Doepking.
Romero alone kept the Orange in it for the majority of the contest as Syracuse had only two hits through the first four innings facing Notre Dame pitcher Payton Tidd. She held the Fighting Irish to only one run, and struck out seven batters.
No strikeout was bigger than the one that closed out the third inning. Romero faced MK Bonamy with the bases loaded having already given up one run in the frame.
Romero got Bonamy to swing through a riseball and immediately pumped her fist, screaming with joy as she strode away from the circle to meet her teammates awaiting high fives.
Her catcher, Gianna Carideo, received the first high five as the two were clearly in sync all game.
“I think me and Lex were really locked in. Curveball was working all day. Riseball as well,” said Carideo. “I had no doubt in that, and so I just give it to her, and it’s a good pitch.”
Carideo’s one-out single ignited the Syracuse offense in the bottom of the sixth. The next seven SU batters would reach, including RBIs from Gabby Teran, Hansen and Alex Acevedo. It finally culminated in the walk-off triple from Lailoni Mayfield.
The seven-run frame was the highest-scoring inning of the season for Syracuse. SU got six of their ten hits in that inning as all nine batters in the order came to the plate.
The Syracuse hitters saw the offensive explosion as a repayment for all the effort Romero put in for them.
“Whenever we’re hitting, we know that we need to produce for Lex since she does so much for us,” said Acevedo. “She tries to hold the runs down to a minimum and she does a really good job of that, so we need to do our job to take pressure off of her by scoring runs.”
Syracuse has scored plenty of runs since arriving home, scoring 28 runs in the three games at Skytop Softball Stadium this season. The Orange look to continue the trend tomorrow in a doubleheader with the Fighting Irish, the first game starting at 1:00 p.m.
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