(Amesbury) Amesbury is back in familiar territory, the Final Four.
The #2 seed in Division 4 defeated #10 Easthampton, 12-0, on Friday afternoon at Perry Field.
The Eagles (17-6) had pitching problems even before the game started as ace Rosemary Follet was unable to go because of tendonitis.
Normal third baseman Lauren Morse took on the pitching chores and had some success for a while.
“We were expecting a faster pitcher to say the least,” said 2B Cali Catarius afterwards. “We eventually adapted to it and got going in the sixth inning.”
Amesbury turned a 6-0 game into a 12-0 game with a six-run sixth inning.
Meanwhile, Amesbury’s pitcher (Liv DeLong) put together a fourteen-strikeout, three-hitter.
Liv had strikeouts in every inning.
None of the strikeouts was bigger than the one on Jessica Cloutier in the fourth inning.
In that fourth inning, after one out, the Eagles put two hits (Anastasia Growhoski, Lauren Morse) and a walk (McKenzie McCarthy) together to load the bases.
Jessica put a terrific at-bat together and got the count to 3-2 after numerous foul balls before striking out. Liv then struck out the next batter to end the threat.
“That was a big strikeout,” said AHS catcher Ella DeLisle afterwards. “That was a scary inning, but Liv pitched her way through it.”
Liv was quick to praise her catcher: “Her pitch calling was what made me successful today. She frames. She blocks. I don’t do any of the pitch calling.”
While the slower pitch-speed seemed to throw off some of the Amesbury hitters, sophomore Izzy Levasseur wasn’t one of them. She went three-for-three and drove in four runs with a sacrifice fly, a single, and two doubles.
“I hit the ball hard today,” recalled Izzy. “We all kind of pick each other up in hitting.”
Amesbury (22-1) had two in the first and one each in the second and third. They took a 4-0 lead into the fourth inning in which Liv DeLong escaped the bases-loaded jam.
“I thought the game was slow,” said Amesbury coach Jacquie Waters afterwards. “We’ve had days off along the way and now we need to have them focused so we’ll be going every day.”
The lack of a big inning against an inexperienced pitcher held until the Amesbury sixth inning. In the early innings the strong wind (toward first base) and the skills of the Easthampton outfielders had lessened the damage Amesbury did.
The sixth inning was a different story. Two infield errors, and two walks set things up for two-run doubles by Izzy Levasseur and her sister Olivia. Ella DeLisle singled in a run.
The six-run outburst put an end to any rally plans Easthampton may have entertained.
“It took us a while to get going,” said Ella DeLisle who had two hits and drove in a run.
Amesbury will play at home in the state semi-finals on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
“It feels good to be so successful,” said Liv afterwards. “We do put in a lot of practice time.”
Coach Waters has brought in some outside pitching to prepare her team for the expected good pitching that lies ahead.
It was extremely windy today, but the sun was shining.
The Easthampton roster, given out at the game, had two #15’s on it. My guessing needs refinement. I opted to use Shelby Clark to lead off and play shortstop. I discovered that the “real” #15 is Abigail McClaflin.
Easthampton had a win over Turners Falls in April. Yes, that’s the team that defeated Amesbury in the state finals last year. This year TF is in Division 5.
Easthampton entered the game having won eight-of-nine. Five of their six losses have been on the road.
Amesbury is now 13-0 at home and are averaging twelve runs per game. Their only loss was 3-2 to Methuen on May 29th. They have only allowed an incredible EIGHT runs total all season.
Easthampton 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 = 0
Amesbury 2 1 1 0 2 6 – = 12