Softball: Fenton's Lozada wearing jersey like no one else

 
By Stan Goff
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/16/2019 9:36 PM

Before long no one will ever again wear the No. 7 jersey in a varsity softball game at Fenton. But for now it's on the back of Isa Lozada, and she's doing just fine in that jersey.

The four-year varsity starting shortstop played her final home game Thursday night against Proviso West and once again played a key role in the Bison success, this time a 12-1, five-inning victory that improved Fenton to 22-11 on the year.

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Lozada was surprised by the jersey retirement ceremony prior to the game but then went out and had a typical game from her leadoff spot. She walked, stole a base and scored as Fenton took a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

She also walked and scored in the Bison's 8-run fourth inning that broke open a 4-1 contest. In between the two walks she had one of the hardest hit balls of the day, a bases-loaded deep line drive to left that was caught by the Panthers' Georgia Becker in the third inning.

"I had no clue about it. I was going about like a normal game day," said Lozada, a three-sport captain at Fenton, of the pregame ceremony. "Then (her teammates) lined up and I was so confused until (coach Dave Mello) started talking. Then it finally came to me, and yeah, I was in total shock."

Lozada, who will own pretty much every offensive record at the school when she wraps up her final season after the team's Class 4A playoffs, joins Samantha Rubright as the only other softball player at the school to have her jersey number retired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"There's no player that means more and has done more for their team," Mello said.

In Thursday's game Lozada had plenty of support on the field. Pitcher Claira Panos was sharp, striking out six Panthers in four innings of work and giving way to Alyssia Russo with a 12-1 lead heading into the fifth. First baseman Joni Lucas led the offense with a 2-run double in the first, followed by an RBI double in the third.

Cleanup hitter Gianna Saldana had 2 hits and 2 runs, while freshman Ximena Banuelos delivered a bases-clearing triple in the team's huge fourth inning.

Proviso West, which dropped to 4-21, managed 1 run in the fourth but unsuccessfully tried to steal a second run when Bison second baseman Payton Pugliese threw a runner out at the plate on an attempted double steal.

Next up for Lozada and her jersey are a pair of road tuneups ahead of next Wednesday's playoff opener against Evanston. The Bison earned the eighth seed, the program's highest for Class 4A.

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