(Amesbury) Two great teams.
Two terrific pitchers.
Certain to be a good game…and it was.
Amesbury bested Peabody, 3-1, at Perry Park this afternoon in season-opening, non-league action.
Amesbury was 16-2 last year with losses to Peabody and later to Turners Falls in the Division 3 state title game in July.
Peabody was 17-1 last year and didn’t get their lone loss until the Division 1 North title game.
And both teams had plenty of players back from those teams, including standout pitchers Liv DeLong and Abby Bettencourt.
This afternoon Liv finished with twelve strikeouts while Abby had nine.
Liv had seven K’s in the first three innings while Abby had seven K’s in the last three innings.
Each team had three hits. Amesbury had three runners left on base while Peabody had only two.
This was not a day to fatten up your batting average. Just make contact and hope for a break or two.
“The difference in this game was that we had two physical errors,” explained Tanners’ coach Tawny Palmieri afterwards. “Three unearned runs cost us the game. Amesbury’s defense was better than ours was.”
In a game in which runs figured to be scarce, Amesbury picked up two in the first inning.
Ella Delisle led off the game getting hit by a pitch. Ella Bezanson followed with a single that got past the rightfielder allowing Ella Delisle to score and Ella Bezanson to reach third. A Liv DeLong full-swing dribbler to the mound allowed the second run to come across.
“It was huge to get two in the first inning,” said AHS coach Jacqui Waters afterwards. “Ella (Bezanson) was our best hitter last year.”
Peabody squandered a great chance in the fourth inning. Singles by Logan Lomasney and Emma Bloom combined with a passed ball had Tanners on second and third with one out. But Liv DeLong struck out the next two batter to leave two runners stranded.
In the Amesbury fourth inning, consecutive singles by Liv DeLong and Olivia Levasseur put runners on the corners for the Indians. Alana Delisle’s fly ball to short right was dropped but there was a force-out at second base. However, Liv DeLong reached home on that play with Amesbury’s third run.
Peabody picked up their run in the sixth inning. Sophomore Abby Bettencourt singled, took second on a wild pitch and third on a fielder’s choice. A second wild pitch allowed Abby to reach home without a throw.
Liv DeLong retired Peabody in order in the final inning to preserve the victory for Amesbury.
“These teams are even as far as I’m concerned,” said Coach Waters. “We just happened to come out on top today.”
“Liv is a very good pitcher,” said Coach Palmieri afterwards. “It was the first time we’ve seen her. We saw the other pitcher when we faced them last year.”
There will be a second game between the two teams at the end of the season.
“I need the non-league games with these powerhouses,” said Coach Waters. “I need to know where we are. We also play Concord-Carlisle in the middle of the season.”
The power ranking system will be in play as it was for basketball. The caliber of the teams you face has plenty to do with where you end up in the rankings. Previously rankings were sectional and based on wins and losses.
Liv DeLong was familiar with Abby Bettencourt. “I played travel ball with her,” she said.
“Peabody was a good team,” said Liv. “I prepared myself to move the ball around. I knew that I couldn’t just throw the ball down the middle.”
“Liv is just so good,” said her catcher, Ella Delisle. “Her curve and her rise were very effective. I like being able to call the pitches.”
“Our league doesn’t start until Wednesday,” said Coach Palmieri. “We’ll learn from this and hope to get rolling in the league.”
Abby Bettencourt was the Player-of-the-Year in the Northeastern Conference last year as a freshman.
“Abby is a great pitcher,” said Coach Waters. “I thought that this might be one of those quick games that went 0-0 into the late innings. Fortunately, we got some runs early.”
Both teams wore uniforms that only had numbers on the back. Not what you would hope for as a photographer!
Amesbury did not lose the game but somehow their uniforms from last year are lost. As a result, they were wearing uniforms from three years ago.
The sun was shining, and it was breezy for the opener for both teams.
It is not too hard to imagine that both teams will be in good position in the power rankings at the end of the regular season.
Can these teams make a tourney run and turn this into an extra special season as the Amesbury girls basketball team just did? Both teams came close last year.
(The pictures will enlarge.)