Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sonja Morse leads Cony to state Class A softball title 2-0 over South Portland

Cony High School – 2012 Class A softball champions

Sonja Morse

(Standish) Sonja Morse (one-hitter) faced only twenty-one batters as Cony defeated South Portland, 2-0, to earn the Class A state softball title at St. Joseph’s on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

The Rams (20-0) benefited from three Erin Bogdanovich walks and a clutch two-out single by Cecilia Fuller in the fourth inning to get the two runs (Sonja Morse and Alyssa Brochu) that proved the difference in this one.

Sonja Morse was the #1 star in the biggest game of her life.  She had a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings and was on base all three plate appearances.  The talented junior also scored the first Cony run.

The Red Riots (17-3) only had two base runners and both of them were picked off base.  Courtesy runner Abby Young was the first victim.  She ran for Sam DiBiase (walk) in the fifth inning with one out.  Abby got to second on a wild pitch but when Lindsay Cannon struck out for the second out, Abby appeared to think the inning was over and left second. She was tagged out after a throw from catcher Nicole Rugan.

Danica Gleason tagged out by Ram shortstop Alyssah Dennett to end the game.

Danica Gleason was the second base-running victim.  Danica singled in the seventh with two outs.   She took a big lead from first, then slipped and fell trying to get back to the bag. When she realized that she wouldn’t be able to get back to first she headed for second and ended up in a rundown.  Ram shortstop Alyssah Dennett applied the tag on Danica that ended the game.

There were plenty of strikeouts as Erin had thirteen and Sonja had ten.  The key difference between the two of them, other than Erin being a lefty and Sonja a righty,  turned out to be Erin’s three walks in the fourth inning.  Two of the Rams getting free passes scored.

Cony had a base runner in the second (Sonja Morse), two in the third (Arika Brochu and Alyssah Dennett) and one in the sixth (Sonja Morse) but Erin escaped each time.  In the sixth Nicole Rugan tripled but was cut down at the plate on Sonja’s fielder’s choice – third baseman Libby Grant to catcher Sam DiBiase.

Alyssa Brochu scores second Ram run

That productive fourth inning started with a Sonja Morse walk.  She was sacrificed (Maggie Russell) to second and reached third on a wild pitch with one out.  Alyssa Brochu walked and escaped a rundown to reach second.  Olivia Deeves walked to load the bases with two outs and set the stage for #9 hitter Cecilia Fuller.  The senior leftfielder singled down the right field line scoring Sonja.  The relay back into the infield wasn’t handled cleanly and Alyssa Brochu also scored.  With two outs and everyone running Alyssa would have been a tough out at home even if the relay had been handled better.

A scary moment was in the sixth when teammate Alyssa Brochu drilled a line drive into the Ram dugout catching Desiree Chabot in the face.  At most of the softball games I see there is protection for players in the dugout.  Desiree, by the way, recovered enough to be part of the post-game presentations.

South Portland had won fifteen straight before today’s loss.

Sonja struck out batters in every inning except the fifth.  She had five K’s in a row at one point.

Erin Bogdanovich – thirteen strikeouts

Erin got three strikeouts each on the top of the Ram’s batting order – Arika Brochu and Alyssah Dennett.

Nicole Rugan tripled over Riots right fielder Kelsey Morton’s head but was cut down at the plate later.

The bad memory for South Portland from the game will be ending two of the last three innings with runner’s getting picked off base.

This was first softball title for the school from Augusta since 1983.

Cony allowed only fourteen runs over the entire twenty-game schedule.

One of the umpires arrived late thinking that the game started at 4PM instead of 3PM.

I used the St. Joe’s press box in covering this game and it provided a much better view than standing along the fence as I did for the Fryeburg Academy/Greely game on Friday.

Cony boxscore

South Portland boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerable if you click on them.)

Cecilia Fuller – clutch hit in the fourth inning

South Portland coach Ralph Aceto

Alyssa Brochu caught in rundown. Laurine German has the ball.

Sonja Morse prepares to throw out bunter Erin Bogdanovich

Cony team hoists trophy as Coach Rocky Gaslin applauds

Catcher Sam DiBiase prepares to tag out Nicole Rugan

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Fryeburg Academy wins the Class B West Regionals defeating Greely 8-1 in softball

Fryeburg Academy – 2012 Class B Western Regional softball champions

(Standish)  It’s on to the Class B title game on Saturday (11AM) against Old Town at Brewer High School for the Fryeburg Academy Raiders after they eliminated the Greely Rangers, 8-1, on a sunny Thursday afternoon at St. Joseph’s College.

Raider coach Fred Apt

Fryeburg Academy coach Fred Apt won his 150th game and his Raiders have now won the Class B West Regionals five straight years.

FA (18-1) went into the fourth inning trailing 1-0 but came out of that inning with eight runs, capitalizing on everything that Greely gave them.  And one thing that the Rangers gave FA was three extra outs.

After Maggie McConkey singled leading off the fourth, first baseman Mykaela Twitchell, third baseman Lindsey Arsenault, and shortstop Caroline Hamilton made errors on consecutive batters.  So instead of shading themselves in their dugout, the Rangers had already given up the tying run and FA had the bases loaded with no outs.

Eight batters later Fryeburg Academy had put up seven more runs and this game had reached the “Hail Mary” zone for Greely High from Cumberland.

In that big fourth inning, Emily Davidson cleared the bases with a right-center gapper.  Later, Maddy Smith and Sarah Harriman each brought in two runs with singles.

After finally ending that inning, and it took a double play by centerfielder Kathryn Whittum to do it, the Greely bats were very quiet over the final three innings.  The only hit was Dani Cimino’s single in the seventh before teammates Elyse Dinan and Eddie Aromando were retired to end the game.

Dani Cimino

Dani Cimino was the star for Greely.  The junior pitched a 5-hitter and allowed no earned runs.  She had the Rangers’ only two hits including a homer over the left centerfield fence in the top of the fourth.

But one bad inning was enough for FA.  And with lefty Sarah Harriman going, runs were going to be hard to come by.

Sarah tossed a 2-hitter with four strikeouts and no walks.  The sophomore had five one-two-three innings.

The Raiders didn’t get a hit until the fourth.  In the third, however, without a hit, they threatened getting two base runners on walks.  A grounder to short ended the inning as Maddy Smith was ruled to have interfered with Greely shortstop Caroline Hamilton as she attempted to field the grounder.

FA catcher Carla Tripp was one of the “walkers” in the third.  She may have fouled off as many as ten pitches before drawing the walk.

Maggie McConkey dives across with first Raider run

Carla’s lengthy at bat in the third and the demise of the Greely defense in the fourth may have taken some of the edge out of Dani Cimino as she pitched long after she should have been cooling off in the dugout.  And this was one of those games in which the heat was a factor.

Shortstop Sydney Charles started a double play in the second for FA.  Second baseman Bri Pelkie made a nice running catch in the 6th inning.

Eight different girls scored for Fryeburg.

Maddie Smith was the only Raider to get two hits.

FA has now won sixteen straight games.

First year coach Sarah Jamo took a team that was 10-8 last season and brought them to the West Regional game with an impressive 16-3 season.  They also defeated Fryeburg Academy earlier in the season.

Sarah Harriman – gave up only two hits

The Old Town Coyotes (16-4) will be in their first Class B title game when they face the Raiders on Saturday morning.  Considering that FA has been there, done it, over the last four years you would have to like their chances.  With Sarah Harriman pitching the Coyotes will struggle to score runs and Old Town had better hope that they don’t struggle on defense the way Greely did.

Taking pictures at Richard Bailey Field was difficult.  At most softball games a photographer can get inside the fence for close-ups and better angles.  Not at this field.  The other option was the press box but the view from there wasn’t a clear look at the entire field.  That’s a whine and I apologize.

Learned from Coach Apt before the game that he grew up on Rings Island in Salisbury (MA) and went two years to Newburyport High School and two years to Triton Regional.  That information seemed quite remarkable to me since I live in Newburyport and I‘m covering a random game in Maine.

(The pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Ranger gathering

Catcher Eddie Aromando fields bunt

Caroline Hamilton


Raider captains with plaque

Raider players start celebrating

Lindsey Arsenault fires to first

ball loose at home

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Dracut defeats Danvers 6-1 in Division 2 North softball semifinals

Ryan Madison scores the third run for Dracut

Lauren Ramirez – eight strikeouts

(Lowell)  Dracut (22-1) rolled along into the D2 North finals (Monday 3:30PM) with a 6-1 victory over Danvers on a warm Sunday afternoon at Martin Field.

Dracut will face Winchester for the D2 North title on Monday afternoon at Martin Field.

Danvers (19-4) hung with the Middies into the fifth inning, trailing only 2-1, but then Falcon miscues in the field gifted Dracut with four back-breaking runs.

Dracut ace Lauren Ramirez tossed a 3-hitter with eight strikeouts.  The talented junior had five of those K’s in the last two innings.

The Middies collected nine hits off Kendall Meehan bunching four each in the productive first and fifth.

Amanda Vallante led off the first inning with a single, was sacrificed (Samantha Durand) to second, and driven home by Lauren Ramirez.  Lauren’s courtesy runner (Kaylee DiCamillo) was delivered by Kaleigh Bishop-Kotarba’s single to center.

Caitlin McBride heads for third

Down 2-0 after one inning, Danvers picked up a run in the second.  Two bobbles by the left side of the Middies infield enabled Caitlin McBride (who had lead off with a walk) to cross with the Falcon run.  Danvers left the bases loaded in that second inning.

Dracut put the game out of reach in the fifth.  A dropped throw (first baseman Devyn Downs) put runners on first and third.  Samantha Durand sliced a single to right scoring Ryan Madison.

If Danvers could have stopped the bleeding immediately with a two-run deficit they might have had a chance to make things interesting in the last two innings….but they didn’t.

Catcher Genevieve Benoit and pitcher Kendall Meehan collided fielding a bunt attempt and the Middies had the bases loaded with two outs.  Left fielder Nicole Smith took a chance on making a catch on Kaleigh Bishop-Kotarba’s line drive her way.  However, the ball bounced in front of Nicole and then by her.  All three Dracut base runners scored giving the Middies a 6-1 lead.

Lauren Ramirez made that five-run advantage stand up and Dracut moved on to the finals against Winchester on Monday afternoon.

Kaleigh Bishop-Kotarba had two hits for Dracut.  Julia Saggese did the same for Danvers.

Brittany Dougal

Freshman Brittany Dougal made several nice plays for the Falcons at shortstop.

Lauren Ramirez’s father Ray called the pitches for his daughter.

When Chrissy Gikas batted the centerfielder Amanda Vallante was standing behind second.

Middies??  Dracut was where the first US Navy uniforms were created.

(All the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Catcher Sam DiBella waits to tag Shannon Ramirez

Julia Saggese tries for second

signal giver

Amanda Vallante

Cassie Durand

Kaylee Kacavas


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Matignon gains Division 3 North softball title with 3-1 win over St. Mary’s

Matignon – Division 3 North softball champions

Lauren Doneski – limited the Spartans to four hits

(Lowell) Matignon defeated St. Mary’s 3-1 as familiar foes from the Catholic Central Large went at it in the Division 3 North softball finals on sunny Sunday afternoon at Martin Field.

The win gets the Warriors (17-8) into the state semi-finals against Case High School from Swansea.

St. Mary’s (17-7) had won the D3 North the last four years and were state champs in 2009 and 2010.

The Spartans (#4 seed) usually feature pitcher Brooke L’Abbe and plenty of hitting.  Unfortunately versus Matignon, Brooke did her part (ten strikeouts) but the hitting (four hits) was scattered at best.

Matignon pitcher Lauren Doneski never struck anyone out but was hardly ever hit hard.  The Warrior senior allowed just two hits over the final five innings and St. Mary’s left only one runner on base during those five innings.

Both teams had “fall-apart” innings.  For Matignon (#16 seed) it was in the second.  For St. Mary’s it was in the third.  Both teams were able to limit the bleeding but Matignon came away with enough runs to win the game.

Nina Murray slides into third as Jocelyn Tagher awaits throw

In the St. Mary’s second, with courtesy runner Nina Murray on second, Warrior second baseman Julia Graf dropped Tatiana Doucette’s popup.  After the drop, Julia tried to get Nina trying for third and her throw went past Matignon third baseman Jocelyn Tagher allowing Nina to score with one out.  The Spartans would eventually have runners on second (Molly Doyle) and third (Tatiana Doucette) with two outs before Lauren Doneski got Alison Butler to pop out to shortstop to end the inning.

Ahead 1-0 after two innings, it was St. Mary’s turn to allow an extra out and suffer the consequences.  After a Julia Graf walk, right fielder Abbe Caggiano dropped a long fly by Sarah Gauthier setting up Matignon with runners on first and third with one out.  Kayla McKinnon bunted to third but on the throw to first Julia Graf darted home with Matignon’s first run.  Equally important was that during the throw to first and then home, Sarah Gauthier reached third with two outs.  Lauren Doneski’s single to short left delivered Sarah with the Warrior’s important second run.

So after innings in which each team’s defense was a bit shaky, Matignon came out ahead, 2-1, after 2 ½ innings.

Brooke LAbbe – ten strikeouts

The Warriors grabbed some breathing room in the sixth.  Lauren Doneski walked (Brooke L’Abbe’s only walk of the game) and was sacrificed to second by Diana Golini with two outs.  Junior Ryen Cahill then ripped a double down the left field line getting Lauren home.

Brooke had a single with one out in the bottom of the sixth but that was all the Warriors allowed the rest of the way.

Alison Butler, Brooke L’Abbe, Tatiana Doucette, and Molly Doyle had hits for St. Mary’s.

Sarah Gauthier, Lauren Doneski, Eileen Bergin, Diana Golini, and Ryen Cahill had hits for Matignon.

Matignon of Cambridge and St. Mary’s of Lynn met twice during the regular season with each team winning once.

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Coach Colleen Newbury

Matignon gets D3 North trophy

Molly Doyle

Isabella Palange catches the final out

Matignon coach Jessica DePolito

Lauren Doneski scores third Warrior run

Tatiana Doucette out stealing

Alison Butler steals second

Ryen Cahill

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St. Mary’s defeats Rockport 8-1 in the Division 3 North softball semi-finals

This was the view looking down the third baseline before the first weather delay.

Alison Butler stands on second after driving in two runs in the fourth.

(Lowell) My mother used to have to tell me to come in out of the rain.  During thunder and lightning I didn’t have to be told!

That’s why, after 3 ½ innings I left the St. Mary’s/Rockport game as it went into it’s second delay.  The first delay was over a downpour that necessitated work on the infield after it ended.  The second delay was over dark clouds, rumbles of thunder and lightning.

When I saw the players heading for their buses, as I sat it my car during the second delay, I was not optimistic about the game resuming.  So I headed for home…….and missed the final 3 ½ innings of St. Mary’s 8-1 win over Rockport in the Division 3 North softball semi-finals on Friday afternoon/evening.

Brooke LAbbe – winning pitcher

When I left after 3 ½ innings, the Spartans had a commanding 5-0 lead and St. Mary’s starter Brooke L’Abbe had retired nine Vikings in a row after leadoff batter Hannah Lorden’s ground single in the first.

After being retired one-two-three in the first inning St. Mary’s displayed it’s long game with doubles in each of the next three innings.

Two of those doubles (Kaleigh Finigan and Brooke L’Abbe) were hit over outfielders’ heads.  The other was a “speed” double by Alison Butler.  Those extra-base hits drove in four of the five Spartan runs.

Rockport threatened in the first.  Hannah Lorden singled and got as far as third before catcher Mollie Watson ended the inning flying to left.

Rockport (16-5) finishes with their best softball record in school history.  They’ll have some key players to replace, especially four-year pitcher Kristin Turner, but several of the Cape Ann League’s best (shortstop Gabby Muniz and catcher Mollie Watson) have Viking season’s ahead.

St. Mary’s resume is enough to scare most teams.  They were state champs in 2009 & 2010.  They’ve been D3 North champs for four straight seasons.  Any losses they have are usually to higher division opponents.

St. Mary’s will face league rival Matignon in the final on Sunday at 1PM at Martin Field in Lowell.  (My intentions are to be there……..for the whole game!)

Kaleigh Finigan – missed the Spartan loss to Matignon during the regular season

The Spartans have defeated Matignon two of the three times they played each other this season.  The 9-7 Matignon win on May 4th would need some sort of asterisk beside it since Spartan slugger Kaleigh Finigan didn’t play.

Two things that caught my attention during this game: (1) St. Mary’s outfielders play extremely shallow, and (2) Rockport’s first baseman (Kendra Adams) and third baseman (Kayla Parisi) were halfway between their bases and home during the at-bats of the first two Spartan batters.

The Spartan outfielders were very fast so even if a ball went over their heads the runner would only get a double.  During the three Rockport innings I saw, the Spartan outfielder never had to move back once.

That playing-close routine at first and third is worrisome to me.  I would like it a lot better if the fielders were wearing protective masks, but they weren’t.  I know that the theory for the positioning is to have to cover less ground on a bunt but without a mask it’s way too risky for my taste.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge if you click on them.)

Victoria Viger catches a popup in the second inning.

Kendra Adams chases a foul pop in front of the Spartan dugout. (The ball is along the railing.)

Courtesy runner Cassandra LaFauci heads for third and home on the Kaleigh Finigan single in the third.

catcher Genevieve Benoit

Gabby Muniz

Meghan Tupper

Kristin Turner

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Winchester runs its shutout streak to three games defeating Newburyport 2-0 in Division 2 North softball

Rory Connolly beating out a bunt in the first inning. She would later score the first Winchester run on an Emma Morton double.

Winchester celebrates a trip to the D2 North finals

(Lowell)  The Winchester Sachems added seven more shutout innings to their 2012 post-season run as they defeated Newburyport, 2-0, on overcast Thursday night at Martin Field in the Division 2 North semi-finals.

Winchester (16-5) will get either Dracut or Danvers on Sunday afternoon at Martin Field for the D2 North title.

The Sachems have shut out all three opponents in the D2 tournament and it was easy to see during four hitless innings that sophomore pitcher Rachel Smith was part of the reason.  Rachel recorded five of her six strikeouts in the first four innings.

Winchester jumped off to a 1-0 lead in the first.  Rory Connolly led off with a bunt single and reached third after a sacrifice bunt (Anne DeRosa) and a fielder’s choice (Rachel Smith).  Junior Emma Morton ripped a double to right center scoring Rory.

Newburyport (13-10) from the Cape Ann League came to life in the final three innings.  All four of their hits came during that segment and they stranded six runners.

Julia Staffiere – her triple drove in a run in the fifth

During the fifth inning Winchester added a second run.  Maddie Lepore reached on a flair behind first with no outs.  Andrea Cantalupa came on as a courtesy runner for Maddie.  Julia Staffiere delivered Andrea with a hot shot over the third base bag that rolled all the way to the left field corner for a triple.  Julia’s RBI gave the #7 seeded Sachems a 2-0 lead heading into the final two innings.

That lead would be severely threatened by the Clippers in the final two frames.

Newburyport (#14 seed) loaded the bases in the sixth.  Singles by Kendra Dow and Lea Tomasz were followed by Rachel Smith’s bobble of a Carley Siemasko grounder with two outs.  Rachel recovered from the error to retire Beth Castantini on a routine fly ball to center to end the bases-loaded threat.

The Clippers took another run at the Sachems in the seventh.  Newburyport had two loud outs (Maddy Stanton liner to center & Casey Barlow’s shot that shortstop Catherine Pitts speared) as well as a walk (Vicky Allman) and a single (Jackie Krusemark).  But again Winchester escaped being scored on as Kendra Dow grounded out to second to end the game.

Molly Rowe and Beth Castantini

Beth Castantini had a strong outing in her final endeavor as a Newburyport Clipper allowing only five hits.  She also struck out five Sachems and walked no one.

Catcher Emma Morton stroked two doubles and had several long-distance foul balls for the team from the Middlesex League.

Kendra Dow hurt her leg lunging for first on the last out of the Clipper season.

Clipper catcher Lauren Singer made a nice catch of a foul pop in the fourth inning.

Maddie Lepore saves a run with this two-out catch in the third inning.

Maddie Lepore jumped to make a run-saving catch in right field in the third inning.  Casey Barlow was on second for the Clippers at the time after reaching on shortstop Catherine Pitts’ two-base throwing error.

The weather?  Downpour an hour before game time delayed the ending of the Mystic Valley/Matignon game.  By the time the Clipper/Sachem game started the rain had stopped but threatening clouds had me wondering when the next deluge would drop.  But thankfully, the rain stayed away.

Winchester box score

Newburyport box score

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Emma Morton – two doubles and an RBI

Anne DeRosa tosses to first for the final out of the game

Lauren Singer corrals a popup

Rachel Smith – four-hitter with six strikeouts

season-ending walkoff

watching the action

Kendra Dow and Lea Tomasz

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Northeast Regional defeats Boston International 7-0 in Division 4 North baseball semi-finals

Shawn Withrow (2 steals) steals second in the first inning.

Jake Crowley tossed a one-hitter with ten strikeouts

(Lynn)  The combination of Jake Crowley’s one-hitter and shaky Boston International defense gave Northeast Regional (Wakefield) a 7-0 victory in the D4 North semi-finals on a pleasant Wednesday afternoon at Fraser Field in Lynn.

The win earns the #1 seed Golden Knights a trip to the Division 4 North finals on Saturday (10AM) against Georgetown at LeLacheur Park in Lowell.

Northeast starter Jake Crowley was impressive.  The senior lefty kept #4 seed BI off balance most of the time wracking up ten strikeouts.  After Carlos Jimenes’ ground single up the middle in the second, Jake didn’t allow a base runner over the final 5 1/3  innings.

Northeast Regional (17-5) is good but Boston International (Dorchester) made things way too easy for the eventual winners with a nightmarish afternoon in the field.

BI starter Leonel Mojica allowed only four hits and had eight strikeouts but he also gave up six walks.  Four of the walk recipients ended up scoring.

Frank Rosario about to tag out Jake Crowley

The aggressive Knights ran wild on the bases with six steals in seven attempts.  BI catcher Randy Gonzalez did get Jake Crowley in the fourth inning.

The unhealthy trio of walks, hits, and stolen bases was going to lead to runs sooner or later……. but not seven of them.  Only two of the Northeast runs came that way.

This game got out of hand when centerfielder Alfredo Frias dropped routine two-out flies in the second and sixth.

The first time it happened the bases were loaded.  All three Knight runners were off with the sound of the bat and when Jason Harper’s fly wasn’t caught, Hector Nunez, Shawn Withrow, and Jake Crowley crossed the plate.  So instead of a 2-0 deficit the Lions trailed 5-0 after two innings.

Joe Tallent scored two runs including this one in the sixth.

Those five runs already looked like a pretty high mountain to climb for the Lions but the Knights collected two more unearned runs in the sixth.  Pinch hitter CJ Pettigrew doubled to left and Joe Tallent walked with two outs before another fly ball to center was dropped and two more gift runs came across making it 7-0.

Casey Orlando had two of the Knights four hits.

Knight shortstop Jonathan Dalba made a nice running catch of Frank Rosario’s bloop into short left.

Northeast coach Steve Montello kept his ace Jason Harper off the field (he usually plays third when he isn’t pitching) to rest him for the D4 North finals.

The Lions (13-7) were the champs of the Boston City League South and had defeated North Shore Tech, 4-3, on Tuesday.

Northeast gets a rematch with Georgetown.  They lost last year in the semis to the Royals.

Who can figure the weather?  I came expecting clouds/rain/cold and sat through clouds/sun/heat.

Jason Harper

Northeast is from the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.  Jason Harper was league MVP.  He is 10-1 with two saves and is almost certain to be on the mound Saturday against Georgetown ace Ryan Browner.  That should be a good one!

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge if you click on them.)

pregame grooming

Angeli Rosario

Coach Steve Montello checks with Jake Crowley in the 7th inning

Guest is Boston International and Home is Northeast Regional. This was just before the final out.

Boston International coach

Casey Orlando (2 hits) lines up a fly ball

BI pitcher Leonel Mojica

Shawn Withrow scores first Knight run

Hector Nunez locates a foul pop.

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Danvers edges Amesbury 2-0 in Division 2 North quarterfinals softball

Caitlin McBride scores the first of Danvers two runs in the crucial second inning.

Kendall Meehan pitched a 5-hit shutout and drove in a run with a walk.

(Danvers)  It was one of the better two-strike at bats you’ll ever see in a high school softball game.  With the bases loaded, Danvers’ Kendall Meehan spoiled at least five two-strike pitches before earning a run-producing walk in the Falcons second inning.

That run and another one in the same inning were enough for #4 seed Danvers (19-3) as they defeated #5 seed Amesbury, 2-0, in the Division 2 North softball quarterfinals on a misty Sunday afternoon at Great Oak School in Danvers.

The Falcons next opponent will be either #1 seed Dracut or #8 seed Arlington.  Those two teams are scheduled to play on Tuesday night.

This game was quickly played (75 minutes) and there was little to choose between Amesbury starter junior Carolina Merrill (four hits and three strikeouts) and Danvers’ starter sophomore Kendall Meehan (five hits and two strikeouts) except for the game-deciding second inning.

In the decisive second, freshman Caitlin McBride doubled to left center and reached third on Devyn Downs’ sacrifice fly with one out.  Julia Saggese’s single to left drove in Caitlin with the first Falcon run.

Amesbury has trouble with a bunt in the second.

The second Danvers run of the inning was tainted.  Devin Johnson had walked before Julia’s single so there were runners on first and second with one out.  Erica Fleming’s bunt attempt was mishandled by Indian third baseman Autumn Kligerman loading the bases with two out.  Kendall Meehan then delivered Devin with the second run on the crucial walk I described above.  Carolina Merrill retired the next batter to end the inning but the unearned second run was on the books.

The Indians (16-6) had several promising innings but the combination of flawless Falcon defense and Kendall Meehan’s pitching preserved the shutout.

Amesbury didn’t do itself any favors by having leadoff batters doubled off first in the first (Amanda Schell) and the second (Erin Leary).

Amanda Schell reaches third in the fourth inning.

The Indians threatened in the fourth.  Amanda Schell doubled to right-center leading off but only got as far as third.

In the fifth, Amesbury put two hits together (Alexis Boswell and Rachel Cyr) with two outs but Kendall K’d her mound opponent Carolina Merrill to close out the inning.

Amesbury’s Jenna Barley singled in the seventh and reached second on a sacrifice fly with two outs but a routine grounder to shortstop Brittany Dougal ended the game.

Danvers only opportunity to score other than the second inning was in the fifth when both Brittany Dougal (double) and Chrissy Gikas (Amanda Schell error) reached with one out. But Carolina Merrill pitched her way out of that one with a popup and a ground out.

Shortstop Brittany Dougal prepares to record the final out of the game.

Amesbury has no seniors on the 2012 team.  Juniors Cassie Schultz and Erin Leary made the All-League team in the Cape League this season.  Teammates Amanda Schell (sophomore) and Carolina Merrill (junior) were named CAL All-Stars.

Danvers coach Tara Petrocelli (second year) was the Coach of the Year in the NEC South.

Kendall Meehan is now 13-3.

Kendall Meehan, Sam DiBella, and Chrissy Gikas made the 2012 Northeast Conference South All-Star team.

I was told that the Great Oak School field was waterlogged Saturday but town workers made it playable today.  It was in terrific shape.

(The pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Julia Saggese – drove in first run

Chrissy Gikas

Falcon gathering

Rachel Cyr

Carolina Merrill – allowed only four hits

Caitlin McBride reaches third in the second inning.

Shortstop Amanda Schell locates a popup.

Third baseman Caitlin McBride

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