Mercy-less Marlins pummel opponents from the mound and at bat

Junior Kaitlyn Pallozzi (5-1), left, and senior Sophia Paluk (6-0) share the pitching duties for Mercy. Combined, in 68 innings, they have an 0.82 ERA, have limited opponents to a .132 batting average, and have struck out 142 batters. (Don Horkey | Special to Detroit Catholic)

FARMINGTON HILLS — The Mercy Marlins have forged a new identity in the first dozen games of their softball season: Mercy-less.

The Marlins (11-1) — with one exception — have relentlessly pummeled their opponents by a combined score of 121-10. They have been particularly rough against their fellow Catholic High School League Central Division members, wiping out Macomb Lutheran North 10-0 and 10-0, Warren Regina 15-0 and 13-0, and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 15-0 and 18-0.

Gaylord, in the second game of the season, was responsible for the lone stain on Mercy’s record, smacking a pair of two-run homers in the sixth and seventh innings for a 4-3 win.

Mercy is displaying power on the mound and in the batter's box.

Junior Kaitlyn Pallozzi (5-1) and senior Sophia Paluk (6-0) share pitching duties. Combined, in 68 innings, they have an 0.82 ERA, have limited opponents to a .132 batting average, and have struck out 142 batters.

Pallozzi, an Alabama commit, has gained notoriety across and beyond the state for her singular accomplishments. A year ago, she became the third pitcher in state history to strike out all 21 batters in a perfect game. She’s pitched seven no-hitters in her career, three this spring, against White Lake Lakeland and back-to-back versus Lutheran North and Regina. Pallozzi has struck out 95 batters in 40 innings.

“She’s throwing the ball well,” coach Corey Burras said. “She’s mixing her pitches up. A fastball that reaches 70 mph, a riser, a change of pace. She’s more confident to show different movement.”

Paluk, committed to Northwood University, presents a challenging contrast with her ability to keep batters guessing with an assortment of fastballs in the 60 mph range and knee-buckling off-speed pitches. She’s walked just five of 111 batters she’s faced.

“We have a solid core,” Burras said.

The essence of that core is behind home plate in the person of the coach’s daughter, senior Kat Burras, who is in her fourth year as catcher and is committed to Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

“She’s worked really hard during the travel season to get bigger, faster and stronger,” Burras said. “That battery (with Pallozzi and Paluk) is strong and intact.”

On offense, junior shortstop Charlie Lambert (Central Michigan) sets a torrid pace with a .535 average, 18 RBI and five home runs.

“Charlie has great knowledge and great quickness; it’s her infield and she commands it and knows where the play is and she’s able to execute it,” Burras said.

Sophomore center fielder Sophia Chaput leads with six round-trippers, shares the RBI lead with 18 and has a .500 average.

Catcher Burras is another .500 hitter and has hit five home runs. Pallozzi (.379) helps her own cause with five home runs. Mercy’s starting lineup is hitting .426.

On Thursday, April 25, Mercy squares off against its last CHSL foe on its schedule, a doubleheader against Dearborn Divine Child (ranked Division 2, No. 3). These two squads met last May in the CHSL championship game, which Mercy won, 1-0, in extra innings. It’s likely it will be a repeat match between Pallozzi and the Falcons’ fireballing junior Jessica Nelson.

The games will be the start of a rugged 14-game schedule over 17 days, ending May 11, against all ranked teams: Allen Park (D1, No. 11), South Lyon (D1, No. 5), Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (D1, No. 8), Trenton (D2, No. 8), Saline (D1, No. 16), Vicksburg (D2, No. 2) and Midland (D1, No. 15).

“We’re every bit as good as we were last year,” Burras said. The Marlins were 29-0 heading into the regional final only to lose to eventual champ, Hartland.

The ultimate goal is a state championship, which Mercy has claimed once in its history, in 2016.

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].


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