Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Iha Trusts in Sprofera as It Aims for Repeat Crown

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Iha Trusts in Sprofera as It Aims for Repeat Crown

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP - Reese Guevarra is one of the most feared hitters in North Jersey.

She is batting nearly .500. She can drive the ball all over the field. She is seemingly always on base.

There is one pitcher, though, that the Immaculate Heart junior center fielder would not want to face.

Fortunately she doesn't have to.

Instead she can watch as Olivia Sprofera piles up wins, strikeouts and dominant performances as the Blue Eagles' ace.

"She's an incredible pitcher," Guevarra said. "She's grown into such an awesome competitor. I'm so glad she's on my team and not the other team."

Sprofera, a junior left-hander, has been right in the middle of Immaculate Heart's 29-game winning streak and North Non-Public A title. She stays calm, composed and confident in the circle - the makeup of a champion.

Her next task comes Saturday as IHA (30-1) goes for its second consecutive state title when it plays Donovan Catholic in the Non- Public A championship game at 3 p.m., at Kean University.

The stakes are high, but that doesn't affect Sprofera.

"I just kind of go in with the same mind-set every time," Sprofera said. "We know it's a title. It's not just another win on the record. But we have the same mind-set."

The lefty is 22-1 with a 0.34 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 162 2/3 innings. Sprofera split time in the circle with Katie Kudlacik last year. But after Kudlacik transferred to Paramus Catholic earlier this season, Sprofera stepped up to become IHA's primary pitcher.

She has thrived in the role.

Sprofera isn't the type of pitcher to overpower batters, but she doesn't have to. She has remarkable movement on her pitches. Batters cannot solve her.

"She has a variety of pitches," coach Diana Fasano said. "And her spin is like nobody else. She just moves the ball. It's not like she's throwing hard compared to other people. But her ball moves. We were able to play around with that - find weaknesses, use that to keep people off balance. …

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