(Amesbury MA) It is not unusual for even the winning coach to find something that the team could have done better.
“I have no complaints about this game at all,” said Amesbury coach Jacqui Waters after the Indians had defeated Rockport, 11-3.
The hitting and pitching were nicely in place for the home team on this Wednesday afternoon of Cape Ann League softball.
Amesbury (10-1) scored in every inning, including four runs in their half of the first inning.
“We all hit,” said AHS starter Liv DeLong. “We made good contact.”
The Indians had thirteen hits. Alana Delisle and Ella Bezanson homered, while Olivia Lavasseur had a triple.
Hitting like that can win you games but when you add excellent pitching, the opponent is in trouble.
Freshman Liv DeLong held the Vikings (6-8) hitless into the sixth inning.
“She hit her spots very well today,” explained catcher Avery Hallinan. “Her inside fast ball was very effective.”
Today’s game was a rematch of an April 10th season opener in which Amesbury won, 5-3.
“This time we weren’t ready to play,” said Rockport coach Julie Ryan. “Their pitching was amazing today.”
The Indians put four runs together in the first inning with only one hit. Two errors (2B Abby Engel) extended the inning and two wild pitches (Kelsea Anderson) allowed runs to score.
In the AHS second, Avery Hallinan was hit by a pitch, went to 2B on a wild pitch, reached 3B on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a passed ball (Kylie Wheat).
In the Amesbury third, after Olivia Lavasseur was caught stealing, Alana Delisle homered over Taylor Frost’s (CF) head.
The Indians led 6-0 after three innings while Rockport was still looking for its first hit. Kylie Schrock (walk) was the Vikings only baserunner through three innings.
Amesbury collected ten hits over their final three innings scoring five runs and leaving the bases loaded twice.
Emma DiPietro (3 hits) and Liv DeLong had RBI in the 4th.
Ella Bezanson (3 hits) hit a two-run homer to right center in the 5th.
AHS starter Liv DeLong had a string of eleven straight batters retired into the sixth inning.
Rockport broke through in the sixth. Errors by Emily O’Donnell (1B) and Ella Bezanson (CF) allowed Liz Higgins to reach third. A perfect bunt by 8th grader Sophie Lucido scored Liz and gave the Vikings their first hit.
Amesbury got one of those runs back in their half of the 6th inning. Olivia Lavasseur tripled off the chalk in right field and came home on a passed ball.
Rockport opened the final inning with three straight hits. Liz Higgins drove home two runs (Kylie Schrock & Kelsea Anderson) with a ground ball through the left side.
With runners on first and third in that promising inning, the Vikings tried to steal second. However, AHS shortstop Emma DiPietro cut off the throw to second and fired home catching Kylie Wheat trying to score from third.
The Rockport coaches questioned the out call. The catcher must have the ball in order to block the plate. The ruling was that catcher Avery Hallinan did indeed have the ball when she made the tag.
“If I have the ball, and I did, I can block the plate,” said Avery afterwards.
Despite the loss, RHS coach Julie Ryan was optimistic postgame. “We stepped up to the plate at the end. We are still in contention for a playoff spot.”
The Vikings are currently in 3rd place in the Baker Division with Ipswich and Amesbury ahead of them. Rockport has two games left with Ipswich. A second-place finish, even with a losing record, earns a tournament spot.
Coach Waters: “It was a great team effort. Avery was excellent behind the plate. Ella had three nice hits.”
Liv DeLong: “The defense behind me worked really well. The end was a little rocky. I mixed my pitches and hit my spots.”
Avery Hallinan: “I have probably caught Liv for seven years going back to Little League.”
The weather? The calendar changes but the weather doesn’t. It was cold and windy but NOT raining.
This was my first visit this year to the field at Amesbury Middle School. Attempts have been made to minimize treacherous left field. There is now a fence keeping left fielders from running onto pavement chasing foul balls out there.
Amesbury started five freshmen while Rockport started four freshmen. Both team’s pitchers and catchers were freshmen.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)