(Topsfield MA) For 2 1/2 innings Masconomet looked like anything but a softball team on a twelve game winning streak.
The rest of the way? The Division 1 Chieftains (17-2) overcame a five-run deficit and overtook Division 2 North Reading, 7-6, with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.
The Hornets (14-5) carried a 6-5 lead into the top of the seventh inning and were in an excellent position to pad their lead as they loaded the bases with one out. But Masco’s complete game winner, Emily Dow, struck out Emma Santosuosso and got Bryanne Riley to fly out keeping NR off the scoreboard.
Now Masco needed a run to tie and another run to win. They got both. Emily Dow hit a two-strike single on the ground up the middle. Tayla Murray ran for her. Jordyn doubled sending her sister to third with one out. Second baseman Carly Swartz opted to come home with Kylie Currier’s grounder but Tayla Murray slid home safely to tie the score. Her sister (Jordyn) reached third on the play. A fly to center wasn’t deep enough so Jordan held at third with two out. Jordyn did get home standing up on a Kendra Butner pitch in the dirt, that eluded NR catcher Sophia Warner, to give the Chieftains the win.
The victory gives Masco the Cape Ann League Kinney Division title.
I came away impressed with the Chieftains’ hitting. They collected thirteen hits and everyone in the lineup had at least one of those hits. Eight of the hits came in the final three innings.
Junior Sophia Warren was a perfect four-for-four. She also scored a run and had an RBI for North Reading.
Kendra Butner launched a no-doubter over the fence in left in the NR fourth.
The Hornets did get five runs in the first three innings but they also stranded five runners. Once the Masco bats came to life those stranded NR runners became very important.
Julianna Kostas paced Masco with two RBI. Maddie Kelly, Alex Mendelsohn, Emily Dow, and Kylie Currier had one RBI apiece.
Cassidy Gaetta, Tarah Reilly, Sophia Warren, and Kendra Butner had the RBI for North Reading.
Errors by shortstop Casey Maidment (fielding) and rightfielder Jordyn Murray (throwing) gave NR two unearned runs in the first inning.
The last Masco loss? 6-5 in nine innings at North Reading. The Hornets scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to send that April game into extra innings.
The other Masco loss? 4-1 to Newburyport in the season opener.
This was the fourth one-run loss for North Reading in the Cape Ann League. The other one-run winners? Amesbury, Lynnfield, and Pentucket
A young Masco fan was hit by a hot grounder. Two North Reading players were quick to bring ice packs. Somewhere they learned that there is more to life than softball.
Emily Dow played the National Anthem with her trumpet.
A key to the Masco win was limiting 2013 CAL All-League Tarah Reilly to just one hit. As shortstop, Tarah made a sure-handed play to end the sixth inning preserving NR’s one-run lead.
Maddie Kelly (2013 CAL All-Star) had a double, triple and scored a run.
Weather? Perfect with plenty of sunshine.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)