(Amesbury MA) Amesbury took advantage of some shaky Manchester-Essex defense and defeated the Hornets, 5-2, on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.
“We took advantage of mistakes,” said Amesbury coach Jacquie Waters afterwards. “Their pitcher (Sydney Levasseur) was very good.”
Three Indians reached on errors and all three would score.
Today the Amesbury seniors (Haley Catania, Caitlin Conrad, Hannaih Burdick) were honored.
Haley celebrated in her own way pitching a 3-hitter and striking out seven Hornets.
Hannaih had two of the Indians five hits and drove in a run.
ME coach Frank Sarro was named Coach-of-the-year in the Cape Ann League last night. Qualifying for the post-season was big news at Manchester-Essex. I asked Frank when they had last qualified and he guessed it was 16-20 years ago. Then I asked him when was the last time ME had defeated Amesbury. He wasn’t sure that they ever had. That streak is at least thirteen, according to Mascores, going back to the 2011 season.
But today the Hornets had their chances. This game went into the sixth inning with Amesbury holding on to a very slim 3-2 lead. “The way the game was going was making me nervous,” recalled Coach Waters.
In the Manchester-Essex 6th, Hayley Catania struck out Taylor Reader but then walked Molly Field and Kristen Harding. When the UMass (Boston) commit fell behind Sydney Levasseur 3-0 that one-run lead looked to be in serious jeopardy. But back came Hayley to throw strikes and get Sydney swinging. “That was a good comeback after going down in the count,” said Hayley afterwards. Shortstop Emma DiPietro’s strong throw to first finished the inning and the Indians one-run lead was still standing.
In the seventh inning, two ME errors allowed the Indians to pad their lead by two runs and Hayley set down the Hornets 1-2-3 in their last at-bats to preserve the W.
Manchester-Essex took the lead in the second inning after Bella Graves’ triple to right center was followed by Michaela Edelstein’s bloop single to right field.
Amesbury tied it up in the third. Hayley Catania singled to left and took second when Ella De Gaspe Beaubien bobbled the ball. Hannaih Burdick’s single between third and short scored Hayley.
In the Manchester-Essex fourth, they took advantage of an Amesbury drop (2B Abby Aponas) to retake the lead. Molly Field reached on the error and later would cross home on a fielder’s choice by Bella Graves. Amesbury shortstop Emma Dipietro ended the Hornets scoring by assisting on the final out on a ball to deep short with a runner on third.
Amesbury pulled ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Meg McElaney walked, stole second and scored on SS Kristen Hardy’s 2-base throwing error. Karleigh Walker, who reached second on the error, took third on a wild pitch and home on a passed ball.
The Indians created a 3-run cushion in the sixth. Emma Catania reached on Molly Field’s 2-base throwing error and later pinchrunner Maddie DiPietro scored when 1B Michaela Edelstein, looking into a tough sun, couldn’t come up with Lauren Hale’s high chopper. Later in the inning, Abby Aponas scored on a wild pitch.
As you can see, ME was in this game but just didn’t play tight enough defense to end a “forever” streak against Amesbury.
“He (Frank Sarro) has done a nice coaching job with them,” said Coach Waters.
The D3 Hornets finish the regular season with a 10-10 record. Coach Sarro credited the team’s senior leadership (Kristen Harding, Taylor Reader) for making it possible.
“I thought that we kind of got caught up in the festivities of today, but Hayley came through again for us,” explained Coach Waters.
The AHS coach was pleased with her team’s comeback after being down 2-1 in the 4th. “We haven’t done that enough this year.”
Amesbury (12-7) has Concord-Carlisle tomorrow (Thursday) away before the tourney pairing come out on June 5th. No home tournament game for the Indians this time around.
That made today’s game the last one for Hayley on the home field. “I have lots of memories from playing here,” she said. Biggest one? “It probably was my freshman year when we beat North Reading in the bottom of the 7th inning.” The NR Hornets have a 50-game win streak still going against Cape Ann League teams during the regular season. That streak goes back into Hayley’s freshman year.
I asked her about her pitching today: “My fastball and my drop curve were working but not my rise.”
There were many foul balls to the right side today. A testimony to the speed of both pitchers.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)