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WEST WARWICK â€” Val Kiers pitched brilliantly Monday afternoon, but the Wizardsâ€™ Division II crossover contest wonâ€™t be remembered for what the junior did in the circle, it will; be remembered for what sophomore Mikaela Grosso did with her arm and bat.
After the Wizards threw away a three-run lead in the sixth inning, Grosso made a perfect relay throw with two outs in the seventh inning to throw out Victoria Spooner at home plate to keep the game tied at 3.
Two innings later, with Kat Palmer representing the winning run at third base, the athletic sophomore laced a Bronte Dingesâ€™ pitch right down the third-base line. After avoiding the ball, Palmer trotted home to earn the Wizards a 6-5 nine-inning win that shouldnâ€™t have been so stressful.
â€śIt seems like every game we have an inning where we make a few mental lapses and a bad throw here or there really hurts us,â€ť West Warwick coach Brian Palazzo said. â€śIt hurt us to where they tied the game.â€ť
The game-winning hit in the ninth inning was simply the culmination of a great day in the batterâ€™s box. Grosso went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a triple. She also delivered a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning to push Claire Costello into scoring position with just one out.
â€śMikaelaâ€™s a solid player, weâ€™ve been saying this for two years now,â€ť Palazzo said. â€śThat was the persona wanted up in that situation in the ninth inning. Sheâ€™s a smart hitter, she zoned in on the pitch and she got the hit. Defensively, sheâ€™s really solid.â€ť
West Warwick (4-3 Division II-Central) has now sandwiched a pair of two-game winning streaks around an ugly three-game losing streak. But, in the last two wins over Division II-North foes Woonsocket and Scituate, the Wizards havenâ€™t looked completely self-assured.