Madison ace pitches up a storm in five-win streak

No hits: Madison pitcher Isabella Gerone struck out 17 batters in a 3-1 victory over Bayside on May 20.
Community News Group / Laura Amato

Isabella Gerone refused to admit that her arm was tired.

The James Madison High School senior only gave in to exhaustion after she threw the final pitch on May 20 and, more importantly, secured the victory for her team, leading the Lady Knights to a 3–1 win over visiting Bayside in a Public School Athletic League softball tilt.

It was the fifth game Gerone pitched in as many days. Her shoulder may need a bit of extra ice now, but the senior still recorded a dominant performance in the circle, striking out 17.

“My rise ball was really working, and so was my drop curve,” Gerone said. “I was just trying to work hard and make sure I fought with all the at bats.”

This is par for the course for Gerone.

The senior wrapped up the regular season with 193 strikeouts and her confidence in the circle has been the defining characteristic of Madison’s (15–1) season.

Gerone, a Hartford commit, didn’t change her approach at all in the regular-season finale. She simply threw strikes and, more often than not, left Bayside’s (10–5) hitters frozen at the plate.

The Lady Commodores’ lone run of the afternoon came in the top of the fourth inning, when Daniela Perez connected on a single into deep left field, giving Sophia Gundersen just enough time to sprint across home plate.

“If we had scored just one more run, it might have changed things,” Bayside coach Jeffrey Meltzer said. “Isabella is an amazing pitcher.”

That was as much as Gerone would allow.

The run, the first she allowed all week, did not change affect her momentum — she struck out the final two batters in the inning.

“I had heard that they were a pretty good team, so that was really all I was thinking about,” Gerone said. “Since it was the fifth game I pitched this week, I was kind of stressed out by that, but I just made sure I was focused on pitching as well as I could.”

Gerone helped her own cause on the offensive side as well, connecting on the Lady Knights’ first hit of the game and scoring the squad’s first run after Jenna Graffero drilled a single into right field.

Madison was also able to take advantage of a pair of Bayside errors — as well as another Graffero single — in the bottom of the third inning, effectively taking control of the game.

“I think when we have the opportunity to make plays, we do make them,” Madison coach Thomas E. Mobila. “Right now, if a team makes an error, then we’ve got to bounce on the chance to score runs.”

The Lady Knights don’t return to action until June, when the league playoffs get underway. But Madison isn’t looking at this as time off — this is an opportunity to fine-tune the fundamentals and, perhaps most importantly, give Gerone’s shoulder a chance to recover.

“I’m going to ice up a bit,” Gerone said. “And we’ll have practice throughout the week. We want to just prepare for what’s coming up for us in the playoffs.”

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