Kayla Preziuso shook off a slow start and put together a strong individual performance in leading Chardon to a 12-2 five-inning win over visiting Mayfield on Thursday.
Preziuso allowed two first-inning runs then shut down the Wildcats the rest of the way. Her fifth-inning grand slam ended the game.
“The first inning was a little rough,” Preziuso said. “A couple errors were made but we had to overcome them and focus on the future plays. There was also a very tight strike zone. I had to adjust quite a bit but once I dialed it in we were ready for what was next.”
The Hilltoppers, who improved to 7-6 overall and 4-4 in the Western Reserve Conference, responded with four runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Halle Landies led off the rally with a single, Preziuso reached on a fielder’s choice and Kayla Noerr and Marisa Organiscak both reached on an error. Olivia Adkins was hit by a pitch in the inning.
Chardon made it 8-2 in the fourth.
Alexis Shanks drew a leadoff walk while Preziuso, Organiscak and Lexi Leggett each singled in the inning.
Shanks drew a leadoff walk in the fifth as well.
Organiscak and Landes both were hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs for Preziuso, who was 1-for-3 as she stepped into the batter’s box.
“I started off with some groundouts in the beginning and had to make an adjustment and wait on the pitch,” Preziuso said. “When I was on deck, Coach (Erwin) Hines came to talk to me and said, ‘I dare you to take the first pitch.’”
Preziuso let the first pitch whizz by and knocked the second deep over the center field fence to end the game.
“I didn’t even feel it come off my bat to be honest with you,” she said. “I was super excited because it was my first grand slam ever. As it was reaching the outfield, it kept climbing and I knew it was gone.”
Preziuso allowed one earned run and struck out seven. She also finished 2-for-4 with four runs batted in.
Organiscak and Leggett also finished with two hits for the Hilltoppers.