Walsh Jesuit's Natalie Susa shows huge potential in early softball games

Michael Leonard
Kent Weeklies
Walsh Jesuit pitcher Natalie Susa, right, celebrates with teammate Maddy Schmeiser after belting a two-run home run Tuesday at Stow-Munroe Falls.

STOW — Walsh Jesuit softball has produced some of the area's finest players over the years.

Names such as Lorena Floccari and Lilli Piper still resonate on the local softball scene.

It's too early to group Walsh pitcher Natalie Susa in that company, but if early results are to be believed, the Warriors could have another superstar on their hands.

Susa has shown she can hit for power, runs well and has a befuddling arsenal of pitches at her disposal.

Best of all for Walsh coach Anthony Scibelli, she's only a freshman.

Susa was the centerpiece of a comprehensive 11-0 win for Walsh over Stow-Munroe Falls on Tuesday at the Doug Hawkins Softball Complex.

Susa pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out 17 batters. She also belted her first high school home run and put down a bunt RBI single to finish with three RBIs.

"This was her third high school start," Scibelli said. "She's very solid and we're excited about her future. We started working the riseball as the game went on and she got in a rhythm. She can hit for power."

It's clear Susa doesn't lack confidence — she traded her cleats for a pair of pig slippers as she left the field Tuesday. A native of Macedonia, Susa said she had been looking to play for Walsh "since sixth grade" and has known "Coach Tony," as she called Scibelli, for years.

The combination of a screwball, a riseball and solid velocity on Susa's fastball had the Bulldogs swinging at air.

"I'd say my screwball was working best today," Susa said.

Stow coach Kyla Geopfert tipped her hat to Susa, but noted the Bulldogs (1-3) needed a better approach at the plate.

"She's a good pitcher," Geopfert said. "We just needed to adjust our swings. We have to be able to hit if we want to be able to win."

Stow's first hit of the game nearly plated a run in the bottom of the first inning.

Pitcher Natalie Hosey hit a seeing-eye single into right field, but Walsh right fielder Sienna Tepley threw out Stow's Rachel Edmonson at the plate.

Walsh Jesuit catcher Mia DeSciscio tags out Stow-Munroe Falls' Rachel Edmonson at the play during the Warriors' 11-0 win at Stow this spring.

A walk, an error and a hit batter with no outs in the third inning gave Stow a golden chance to get into the game. However, Susa struck out the next two batters and got a grounder to the mound to escape.

It didn't help Stow that the injury bug has bitten it early this season, as third baseman Aubrey Mansfield and pitcher Makayla Huddleston have been sidelined.

"It's hard, but I fell like our defense has gotten a lot better," Geopfert said. "Our outfield did an awesome job to day. They made a lot of great catches."

Walsh (3-1) showed it can play both long ball and small ball at the plate, banging out 14 hits and taking advantage of nearly every scoring opportunity it had.

Stow-Munroe Falls pitcher Natalie Hosey winds up during a game against Walsh Jesuit Tuesday at home.

"We have a great mix of speed and power at the plate," Scibelli said. "We told the girls that we were looking for whatever we could find and we could play some small ball today."

Walsh put down three bunt singles in the game and stole five bases in the game.

Susa provided the biggest highlight of the game when she smacked a two-run homer over the left field fence in the top of the fourth.

"I wasn't really expecting to hit a home run," Susa said. "I just wanted to make good contact."

Susa had plenty of help at the plate.

Walsh center fielder Emma Barnes was a home run away from hitting for the cycle, as she finished with two runs and three RBIs.

Warrior third baseman Maddy Schmeiser had a single a double and two RBIs, while catcher Mia DeSciscio added a single and a two-run double.