(Beverly) The Beverly Panthers exploded in the fourth and fifth innings and defeated the Andover Warriors, 8-1, in the preliminary round of the Division 1 North softball tournament on Friday afternoon.
The game was played at dusty Innocenti Field in Beverly on a sunny, breezy afternoon.
#16 seed Beverly (12-9) advances to the first round with the victory and gets to play #1 seed Chelmsford (19-1) at Chelmsford on Monday afternoon at 3:30 PM.
Enough of the potential bad news ahead. The good news for Beverly was the way they played in this game, especially in the 4th and 5th. Andover entered the 4th a run up but when those innings were over they trailed, 8-1.
The Panthers batted around in both innings and collected ten hits. They also benefited from two Warrior miscues.
The bottom of the Beverly batting order was huge. Kate Silvestri, Natalie Shea, Jen Ashton, and Ashley Chalifour were a combined eight-for-eleven, drove in seven runs, and scored four runs.
In fact, everyone in the Panther starting lineup, except Monica Cassola, had hits.
Jen Powers started for #17 seed Andover (10-11) and cruised 1-2-3 through the first two innings. In the third, the first three Panthers reached but Jen escaped by retiring the next three batters.
In the 4th, a Jen Ashton sacrifice fly tied the score and was the second out of the inning. However, Ashley Chalifour followed with a 2-run single up the middle. Later in that inning Ashley was driven home by Erin Silvestri’s single to left.
In the 5th, Aimee McKenna’s double put runners on second and third. Kate Silvestri drove in the two of them with a triple. Jen Ashton followed with a triple to drive in Kate and later Ashley Chalifour’s single delivered Jen.
Andover arrived late (Beverly traffic) but started hitting right away. Nicole Ericson hit a hard single to right in the first inning that got by Hannah Pitman for a 2-base error. Shannon Tully followed with a long triple over center fielder Jen Ashton’s head. The triple drove in Nicole with the only run the Warriors would get.
On that triple, there was a high throw to third. However, left fielder Ashley Chalifour alertly backed up third and prevented a second run from scoring by catching the overthrow.
Andover ended up with eight hits for the game with Dina Hagigeorges leading their attack with two hits.
The Warriors stranded ten runners. They were also unable to take advantage of four Beverly errors over the last four innings.
Beverly had errors by 3B Monica Cassola and 2B Natalie Shea in the seventh after two were out to load the bases but shortstop Erin Silvestri’s seventh assist prevented any runs from scoring.
There were several excellent fielding plays in the game. Beverly catcher Jenna LoVasco made a nice catch on a foul pop. Andover second baseman Molly Awiszus went a long way to get a foul pop outside the first baseline.
(I collect my own stats and take my own pictures. I apologize in advance for any mistakes made on my part.)