Wasikowski's strikeout splurge leads unbeaten start for St. Joe's

St. Joseph junior Lauren Wasikowski hasn't allowed an earned run. She has struck out 68 batters in six games.

St. Joseph junior Lauren Wasikowski hasn't allowed an earned run. She has struck out 68 batters in six games.

St. Joseph Athletics / Contributed photo

St. Joseph’s Lauren Wasikowski needed 36 outs to pitch her softball team past New Canaan and Darien in her last two starts. The right-handed junior got 35 of those 36 outs on strikes.

Wasikowski, a transfer from Lauralton Hall and the SCC, gave notice early to FCIAC opponents that another star pitcher was on the scene. She allowed one hit and struck out 12 in a 12-0 five-inning shutout of Trumbull in the season opener.

“It’s been a fun experience getting to know these girls and getting to play on such a great team,” said Wasikowski, who has allowed only one unearned run in St. Joe’s 6-0 start. “We are like a family, so we get excited for each other.”

Joining the St. Joe’s family had a rocky start according to coach Jeff Babineau.

“When Lauren first came to St. Joseph, students weren’t in school because of COVID,” Babineau said. “It was strange for her. She didn’t even meet her classmates. Now that we are back in class, she sees what the school is all about.”

Wasikowski was able to hold a reunion of sorts with Niamh Dougherty.

“Niamh is my catcher. This her first time catching me since I was 12 and she was 11 with the CT. Seahawks. She is a natural,” Wasikowski said. “The way our defense is placed everone is on the same page. Having captains Brit (Mairano in center) and Claire (Gardella in left) adjusting the outfield and Maddy (Fitzgerald) at shortstop moving the infielders to where they need to be is amazing.”

Wasikowski struck out 122 batters at Lauralton as a freshman and with 68 strikeouts in 29 innings thus far is on pace to break that personal mark. She made good use of missing her sophomore season due to the pandemic.

“I gained movement and increased speed on my pitches, which has helped me keep batters off balance,” she said. “I did a lot of training and lifting to get stronger. I had mechanical issues that were slowing me down and taking a few miles an hour away from my pitches.”

Babineau said: “I talk to the umpires and to hear them speak about her maturity on the mound, the way her ball moves and jumps it is fun to hear. They are impressed with how she throws.”

Diamond notes: While it may be boring looking at an opponent’s side of the scorebook, with junior Brooke Buzzeo striking out 13 in her seven scoreless innings of work, St. Joe’s batting page is filled from top to bottom. The Cadets are batting .428 with 80 hits in six games with 22 extra-base hits.

Senior Maddy Fitzgerald is hitting .550 and leads the team in home runs (4) and is tied in RBIs (12). She is second in runs scored (15).

Senior Brittany Mairano leads the team in doubles (5). She is batting .545.

Sophomore Riley McDermott is tied for the lead in RBIs (12). She has the team lead in hits (10).

Senior Claire Gardella is batting .400. She has driven in 10 runs and scored six.

Freshman Niamh Dougherty has scored a team-high 16 runs from the leadoff position. She has nine hits, four for extra bases including two home runs.

Junior Lauren Wasikowski is tied for team lead with 12 hits. She is batting .522 with 11 RBIs and nine runs scored.

Freshman Jill Guilfoyle has driven in six and scored six runs. She is batting .467.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354