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How freshman Kaitlyn Pallozzi has made a strong Farmington Hills Mercy staff even better


Kaitlyn Pallozzi has joined sophomores Sophia Paluk and Asia Barbato to give the Farmington Hills Mercy softball team one of the deepest and most talented pitching staffs in the state.

Paluk and Barbato helped Mercy reach the Division 1 state semifinals last season.

Pallozzi joins that duo as a freshman phenom this season, making a grand entrance to the high school game when she pitched a 1-0 perfect game against Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard/Greenhills last month, striking out all 21 batters she faced.

Pallozzi, a 5-foot-11 right-hander, is off to a 7-0 start with a save and a 0.90 ERA, striking out 137 in her first 54⅔ innings pitched. She's also hitting .397 with 23 RBIs.

Barbato is 11-1 with a 1.51 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 65 innings pitched, and Paluk, 5-1 with a 1.65 ERA, helping Mercy to a 23-2 record, 15-1 in the Catholic League Central Division.

Pallozzi has enjoyed how her teammates have made her feel welcome.

“The friendships are great on the team,” Pallozzi said. “We get along very well, so it’s been a really exciting year.”

Pallozzo knew she was having a great game against Gabriel Richard, but didn’t know she was throwing a perfect game while striking out everyone she faced.

“I didn’t really realize it until the last inning,” Pallozzi said. “It kind of hit me, but it was kind of just like a normal game. My riseball was really working.”

Pallozzi has put in the work to get to an elite level, working with former Mercy head coach Alec Lesko, who guided Mercy to the Division 1 state championship in 2016.

“I’ve been playing travel ball since I was 7, but I’ve been working since the past two years really hard, you just push through it,” Pallozzi said. “Alec Lesko is my pitching coach. I see him about once a week, work out with him at Total Sports in Wixom.”

Pallozzi played travel ball with a number of teams, including Finesse and most recently Texas Glory, which is based in Monroe.

Pallozzi is proud to be a part of Mercy’s staff.

“We all have each other’s backs,” Pallozzi said. “We all have movement (on pitches), for sure. Sophia Paluk can hit her spots, great with off-speed and Asia is a good pitcher. I throw a fastball, changeup and a drop. I usually just go with the rise.”

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Mercy coach Corey Burras feels fortunate to have a staff which keeps opponents off balance.

“Kaitlyn’s outstanding, and I have two other outstanding pitchers so it’s a matter of blending them all together,” Burras said. “Kaitlyn throws mid-60s, Asia throws low 60s and Paluk throws upper 50s, low 60s as well so they have different strengths.

“Paluk is just razor sharp with hitting locations. She has a heavy ball. I’ve always looked at her as Greg Maddux. He’s not going to overpower you, but he’s going to paint the edges. Then, you have Asia who can spin the ball, go up and down and throw hard, and then you have Pallozzi, who has probably three or four different pitches. We don’t need to show all the pitches yet, just want to give her that confidence.”

Pallozzi, who plays first base when not pitching, can also get things done at the plate, hitting .346.

In a Catholic League Central Division sweep at Warren Regina last week, Pallozzi fouled multiple pitches off before a sacrifice fly helped Mercy to a 5-4 comeback win in Game 1.

“That’s what I wanted to see, since we have a young team: Battle back from adversity to get the win,” Burras said. “We’ve played well so far."

david.goricki@detroitnews.com