WEST HAVEN — If the Mercy softball team was laboring from a tight contest against Shelton 24 hours earlier, it needed just five pitches to set the tone against West Haven.
Astin Donovan’s laser over the fence in right led off the contest and was one of five home runs by the Tigers, giving Mercy a lead it never relinquished in an 8-2 victory over the Westies at Frank Biondi Field Wednesday night. Donovan hit a pair of homers, while Stephanie Mangiameli, Stephanie Dean and Olivia Fiasconaro each hit one in the victory.
“Astin’s home run set the tone of the game,” Mercy coach Annie Drury said after her team’s seventh straight win to improve to 8-2. “When you lead off the game like that, the team feeds off that.
“Yesterday, we struggled a little bit. Today, we came out looking to set the tone for the game and the rest of the season. We are in the second half of the season and we are looking at the postseason and how we want to be playing.”
Donovan’s home run gave Mercy the early 1-0 lead, but it was the two long balls in the second inning that led to five runs and put the game away early.
With two outs in the inning and following a West Haven error, Fiasconaro launched a long home run to center for a 3-0 lead. Donovan then ripped a shot down the right field line that she circled the bases without a throw home for a 4-0 lead.
Mercy was not done with its power supply off West Haven pitcher Kial Watts. After Tiffany Mangiameli singled, Stephanie Mangiameli followed with the third long ball of the inning for a 6-0 lead.
“Tonight we wanted to make a statement,” Stephanie Mangiameli said. “We came out swinging. I was not thinking about hitting a home run. I just wanted to hit the ball hard.”
While Mercy was crushing the ball, West Haven struggled to get on the scoreboard. With two outs in the third, Sierra Santana had the first of her three hits, Marisa Pacapelli followed with a single, but Watts was retired on a grounder back to pitcher Brianna Sawicki.
“We just had a team meeting,” Santana said. “We emphasized confidence and forgetting your last at bat. We have to make adjustments. We have to work on our weaknesses.”
Mercy increased the lead to 8-0 with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. After Juliana DellaCamera singled with one out, Dean ripped Mercy’s fifth home run for the 8-0 advantage.
“You can’t stop home runs,” West Haven coach Frank Biondi said after his team fell to 5-7. “We did not get the ball inside enough. That home run to start the game was big. It set the tone for them.”
West Haven got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning when Kristen Domek and Alissa Tonucci singled to open the inning and Santana singled with one out to score Domek. The Westies had two more opportunities to get on the board in the inning but Sawicki got Pacapelli and Watts on groundouts to end the inning.
West Haven scored its final run of the game in the seventh when Santana hit a long triple with two outs and scored on Pacapelli’s single.
Donovan, Dean and Fiasconaro each had a pair of hits, with Stephanie Mangiameli, Dean and Fiasconaro each driving in a pair for the Tigers. Sawicki went the distance, allowing nine hits and striking out three.
Santana led West Haven with the three hits, an RBI and a run scored. Pacapelli added two hits and also drove in a run.