(Tewksbury MA) Shannon McLaughlin allowed just one hit and struck out eleven as Tewksbury defeated Newburyport, 6-0, on a cloudy/rainy Friday afternoon in the first round of the Division 2 North softball tournament.
Tewksbury (15-6) had eleven hits and at least four very loud outs. The biggest Redmen hit was a two-run homer by junior Anna Sessa in the sixth inning that gave Tewksbury its final two runs.
Senior Brooke Hardy also had a big part in the Redmen attack. Brooke singled three times, stole two bases, scored three times, and had an RBI. She has a scholarship to D1 Jacksonville next year.
Shannon McLaughlin (committed to St. Anselm’s) dominated the Clippers (11-10) in the first three innings getting seven strikeouts. Newburyport got its first baserunner with two outs in the third inning when Stephanie Gleason was hit by a pitch.
Tewksbury built up a 3-0 lead in those first three innings.
In the first inning, Erin Walsh hustled a single to center into a double and came home on Brooke Hardy’s grounder up the middle. Brooke stole second and reached third on a passed ball (Shelby O’Brien) and came home on Adrianna Favreau’s single up the middle.
In the third inning, Brooke Hardy beat out a grounder to second baseman (Molly Kelley). When Molly’s throw toward first was wild Brooke reached second. Shannon McLaughlin’s single into right center brought in Brooke with the Redmen’s third run.
Newburyport had a baserunner in both the fourth and fifth innings. Carley Siemasko reached in the 4th on a drop by centerfielder Marissa Doherty while Vicki Allman walked in the 5th.
Tewksbury doubled their lead in the fifth inning. Brooke Hardy singled and stole second with no outs. Two very hard outs followed: sharp grounder by Shannon McLaughlin to shortstop Morgan Johnston and a rope to centerfielder Ashley Hodge. Teagan Trant kept the inning going with a single to right that scored Brooke. Anna Sessa followed with an inside-the-park homer that went over leftfielder Amy Sullivan to the fence. Teagan was running with two outs and scored easily. The Clippers had the ball back in the infield as Anna finished circling the bases.
That 6-0 lead after five innings looked pretty safe the way Shannon McLaughlin was pitching. The big question was whether the Clippers could get a hit off of her. Ashley Hodge took care of that in the top of the sixth flairing a single down the rightfield line. Amy Sullivan bunted Ashley to second but Shannon McLaughlin ended the inning getting two infield popups.
Senior Amy Sullivan made two terrific running/sliding catches in left field in the seventh inning.
In some pretty serious rain, Newburyport put two runners on to start their final at-bats. Meg Stanton walked and Morgan Johnston was hit by a pitch. But three infield outs followed and Tewksbury moves on.
The Redman will face Arlington at Arlington on Sunday afternoon (1PM).
Newburyport, with two seniors (Vicki Allman and Amy Sullivan), will have plenty of experienced players returning for the 2015 season.
Tewksbury never recorded an outfield putout in this game.
Teagan Trant had three hits, scored a run, and had an RBI for Tewksbury.
Newburyport High School had its senior prom last night.
Special thanks from me to the wife of Tewksbury coach Leo DiRocco. The rain that started midway through the game had me wishing I had brought an umbrella. Mrs. DiRocco offered me one of several she had in her car.
This is the second time I’ve ever seen Tewksbury play. Last time? Division 2 North finals at UMass Lowell last year when they lost 6-5 to Burlington. Key to that Burlington win was keeping Brooke Hardy off the bases. The Clippers weren’t as fortunate!
We all know that umpires make mistakes. It’s always nice to know that they can admit it and change a call. That change happened when a Tewksbury runner had been ruled safe on a play that was a force-out. It did get straightened out.
Tewksbury is in the Merrimack Valley Conference. Newburyport is from the Cape Ann League.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)