Category Archives: St. Mary’s

Gracie Doherty goal against St. Mary’s brings Amesbury to D4 North finals

Amesbury team celebrates winning the D4 North semi-finals

Chelsea Lynch (12) and Gracie Doherty (18) celebrate the goal

(Lynn MA) Amesbury’s next opponent might want to check to see who hasn’t scored for the #6 Indians so far and keep an eye on them.

Twice in this year’s D4 tournament, non-scorers have broken through for Amesbury.

Today in the D4 North semi-finals, it was junior Gracie Doherty.  In the D4 North First Round it was senior Sara Johnson.

Sara’s goal was part of a 4-0 win over Winthrop.

Goalie Alli Napoli on the ground. Kayla Demers in the air. Meg McElaney nearby.

Gracie’s goal today at Manning Field was all there was as Amesbury took out St. Mary’s 1-0.

That win gets the Indians (14-3-4) into the D4 North finals for the third straight year.

To hear senior Emma DiPietro tell it, the win was nice but not enough. “I got a taste of winning these last three years and I don’t want to lose again.  I think that we’re ready to win the whole thing.”

To get the state title Amesbury will need three more wins starting with the Manchester-Essex/Medway winner on Sunday at Manning Field.

The Indians are undefeated in their last ten games since losing to Manchester-Essex in October.

I saw St. Mary’s play Amesbury in the tournament last year at Landry Stadium in Amesbury.  I was unimpressed.  The final was only 2-0 but the Spartans displayed a game-long inability to generate any sort of an attack.

Riley Lynch (11) and McKenna Hallinan (1)

Today I saw a different team of Spartans.  For a little over a half, the play was in the middle of the field or in the upper half of the Amesbury end.

“We had a great first half, “recalled St. Mary’s coach Jim Foley.

There weren’t golden chances, but the Amesbury attack was seriously limited by St. Mary’s.

“We started off with two great chances in the second half,” said Coach Foley.  One was off a free kick by Joslyn Deschenes and the other came when Kayla Demers got in close.  Amesbury goalie Alli Napoli handled both advances.

And then Amesbury took over.

Sara Johnson (6) dribbles ahead

“We didn’t play our game in the first half,” explained Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau.  “We were playing as individuals.  I told them at halftime that if they didn’t play as a team the season could be over.  Our seniors stepped up because they don’t want it to be over.”

Amesbury had a great chance in close after nine minutes in their resurgent second half and then senior Emma DiPietro put two long shots on net during the next two minutes.

The pressure on St. Mary’s (13-7-1) was building.  Every clearance was being put back into scoring areas by the Indians.

The persistent pressure led to a free kick.

Alyssa Pettet took the kick from straight away.  Her kick came toward Spartans goalie Adrianna Bowker.  Chelsea Lynch was nearby contesting the oncoming shot.

The long shot bounced off the St. Mary’s goalie and right to junior Gracie Doherty.

Gracie put a charge into a shot and it hit the crossbar and caromed right back in her direction.

Gracie reacted by leaning into a header that settled in just under the crossbar at 27:27.

Sherly Feliz (24) and Emma DiPietro (11)

“What a time for Gracie to get her first goal,” said Coach Thibodeau afterwards.  “On championship teams you need goals to come from all over.”

Gracie’s reaction to scoring such a big goal wasn’t too surprising: “I was shocked that it went it!”

I assumed that St. Mary’s would start to press Amesbury with so much time remaining.  They called a timeout after the goal, but their offense never got started.

“We really didn’t get any looks after those plays in the beginning of the second half,” said Coach Foley.

Amesbury has now shut out St. Mary’s three straight years in the tournament. They are also unscored on in this year’s D4 North tournament.

It was not a lack of effort on the Spartans’ part.

The Indians had that “team” thing going defensively.  The long balls to no one were limited.  Instead, teammates were passed to and better control kicked in.

“Defense wins championships,” said Coach Thibodeau.

McKenna Hallinan gets point-blank attempt

Emma DiPietro: “We don’t give up.  We came back stronger.  We have always been kind of a second half team.  In the locker room we said, ‘This is it.  All or nothing.”

Certainly, an advantage for the Spartans was that even though they were the lower seed (#10), they ended up with a home game late in the tournament.  They have played twelve games at Manning Field this season.

I was very impressed with defender Morgan Mackey in the first half. She prevented the speedy Indians from getting any breakaways.

Ball in the middle

Gracie Doherty’s goal was unassisted although as Emma DiPietro explained, “she assisted herself.”

Not to be forgotten on the eventual game-winner was the terrific send-in by free kicker Alyssa Pettet.

Ten minutes after the Doherty goal, McKenna Hallinan broke in for as clean a look as you could hope for.  Spartans goalie Adrianna Bowker should have been arrested for unarmed robbery after she deflected McKenna’s shot wide.

Coach Thibodeau: “A culture was created on the soccer team three years ago.  It wasn’t about winning.  It was about doing the best we can.  That approach has gotten us to the North finals three straight years.”

Coach Foley: “We couldn’t clear it out on their goal.  Amesbury is a very good team.  Adam (Thibodeau) does a great job.  We’ve lost to them three years in a row.”

Fight for the ball

The weather was nice.

The parade of planes flying over, heading to Logan, always interests those of us who seldom hear/see planes of their size.

Despite the 3:30PM start, there was a good crowd in the stands.

Amesbury is in the Cape Ann League.  St. Mary’s is in the Catholic Central League.

College plans?  Emma DiPietro: “I have applied to go to Boston University.  If I go there, I will try to play some club or intramural soccer.  I am interested in studying biology and specializing in genetics.”

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Amesbury GK Alli Napoli leaps to save

Chelsea Lynch (12) and Riley Lynch (11)

Sherly Feliz

High kick

Incoming

Joslyn Deschenes

 

 

 

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Amesbury softball surprises St. Mary’s 4-2 in Division 3 North semifinals

Hayley Catania ended the first and fifth with consecutive strikeouts

Emma DiPietro (triple) scored in the 5th inning to tie the game

(Lowell MA) Neither team expected to even be in this game!

St. Mary’s was young while Amesbury was seriously reconstructed.

On this afternoon, it was the reconstructed team that put enough pieces together to win the Division 3 North softball semifinals 4-2 at Martin Field in Lowell.

The top piece for Amesbury (15-8) was senior Hayley Catania.  The AHS pitcher allowed five hits (three of them in the first inning) and struck out ten Spartans.  But there’s more to the story: Hayley also had two hits and an RBI.  Her alert baserunning keyed one of the Indians runs in the 2-run fifth.

Shortstop Alyssa Grossi makes a nice running catch

Both teams had powered past quarter-final opponents.  St. Mary’s had four homers versus Pope John while Amesbury had three long ones against Lynnfield.

Today’s contest had only two loud hits and both of them were by Amesbury.  Emma DiPietro had a triple in the 2-run fifth and Hayley had an RBI double in the Indians 2-run seventh.

St. Mary’s (14-9) scratched out a run in the first.  Consecutive singles (Felicia D’Alessandro, Marina DiBiasio, Jordan Sullivan) produced a run.  This was where Amesbury’s Hayley Catania gave us a glimpse of the kind of game she would have as she then struck out Jennie Iudice and Taylor Sullivan to end the inning.

Amesbury had runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, but pitcher Lily Newhall kept the ball in the infield and escaped being scored on.

Starting with the 2 K’s in the first inning, Hayley retired eleven in a row including six strikeouts.

While the pitching was terrific for Amesbury they still trailed by a run until the fifth inning.

Emma Catania singled home a run in the 5th but was thrown out stretching it.

Junior Emma DiPietro tripled with one out over CF Christina Nowicki’s head.  Hayley Catania walked but on ball four the ball got away from catcher Jordan Sullivan allowing Emma to score and tie the game.  Hayley alertly took second when the Spartans concentrated too much on Emma crossing the plate.  That alertness paid off for AHS because when her sophomore sister Emma singled to center, Hayley came home with the go-ahead run.

Now down, 2-1, the pressure was on the St. Mary’s offense.  Alyssa Grossi singled to center opening the bottom of the 5th.  A sacrifice bunt (Katie O’Neill) moved her to second with one out.  But here came Hayley Catania, doing exactly as she had done in the first inning, striking out the next two batters (Angelina Catino and Christina Nowicki) to hold the slim lead.

Emma DiPietro’s triple goes over CF Christina Nowicki’s head

Both teams went down in order in the sixth.

The seventh was not for the weak of heart on either team!

Amesbury put two runners on with no one out on a walk (Emily O’Donnell) and Julia Campbell reaching on an error by pitcher Christina Nowicki.  Freshman Maddie DiPietro pinch ran for Emily.  That brought up Hayley and St. Mary’s coach Paige Licata had a meeting at the mound.

“We talked about walking her (Hayley),” said Coach Licata.  “I told Christina (Nowicki) to keep the ball away from her, and she did, but the ball was still pulled to left.  With a hitter like that you take your lumps and hope you can produce more runs.”

Hayley took that outside pitch over LF Julia Nickolau’s head bringing Maddie DiPietro across and getting Julia Campbell to third.  Senior Hannaih Burdick’s grounder to second enabled Julia to tally Amesbury’s 4th run.

Maddie DiPietro (8) and Julia Campbell (10) wait on the bases to see if Hayley Catania’s long fly will be caught….it wasn’t.

Hayley Catania happy to survive the St. Mary’s 7th

The Indians would need those extra runs in St. Mary’s final at-bats.  Things started harmlessly enough (for Amesbury) as two Spartans struck out.  Then Hayley walked Alyssa Grossi and Katie O’Neill followed with a 2-strike single to right.

Was a miracle comeback about to happen?

The Spartans created a rundown between first and second and Alyssa Grossi scored as Katie O’Neill got back to first safely.  Now the tying run was at the plate.

But Hayley got Angelina Catino to fly out to RF Karleigh Walker insuring Amesbury a trip to Saturday’s North final against Austin Prep.

The Indians reaching the D3 North surprised their coach (Jacqui Waters) as much as anyone: “I have only two players playing where they played last year.  This is all ecstasy to me.  I never thought we’d be here.”

Lily Newhall gave up five hits over six innings.

Coach Paige Licata was surprised that her team made it as well:  “We started 0-3 with a team with no seniors and two juniors.  Today we used a 7th grader (Angelina Catino) at first and an 8th grader (Lily Newhall) pitching.  There was no one crying afterwards because everyone will be back.”

Hayley Catania: “To beat St. Mary’s was a first for me.  My best pitch today (like against Lynnfield) was my drop curve.”

St. Mary’s had only three outfield outs, all to RF Karleigh Walker.

Coach Waters: “Our two seniors (Hannaih Burdick & Hayley Catania) have held this team together.  Often graduated seniors aren’t like that but our two have stayed attentive.  We practice three hours a day, six days a week on the basics and go at it as hard as we can.  We’ve gotten better and better as the season has progressed.  I learned that approach from previous coach Chris Perry and it has paid off.”

Weather looked as if it could rain at any time.

RF Karleigh Walker successfully handled three fly balls including the one that ended the game.

Funny moment: I asked Coach Licata about Hayley’s pitching and she said that she’d coached against her two years ago.  She then asked me laughing, “She’s a senior, I hope, isn’t she?”

No one I talked to afterwards knew when the last time was that Amesbury softball had beaten St. Mary’s.  Coach Waters guessed that it might have been 2005.  It had obviously been a while!

I did see Amesbury soccer defeat St. Mary’s in the tournament this season at Landry Stadium.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Christina Nowicki

Waiting for the game to start

Pitcher Christina Nowicki loses the ball attempting to tag Julia Campbell

Maddie DiPietro turns 3B and heads home in the 7th inning

Hayley Catania after the win

Victory hugs

2B Felicia D’Alessandro tosses to first

Hayley Catania throws to first

Shortstop Alyssa Grossi throws to first

Freshman Marina DiBiaso

3B Julia Campbell throws out bunter Katie O’Neill

 

 

 

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Amesbury advances to D4 semis with 2-0 win against St. Mary’s

Amesbury put pressure on the St. Mary’s defense. Here Sherly Feliz (24) is chased by Brooke Taylor (7)

Michaela Halloran’s tap heads for the goal line as a lunging Morgan Mackie tries to stop it.

(Amesbury MA) The scoreboard at Landry Stadium wasn’t up to speed but the Amesbury girls’ soccer team sure was as they defeated St. Mary’s, 2-0, in the Division 4 North quarterfinals.

The Sunday evening matchup featured a heavy dose of pressure by the Indians on the Spartans.  There were plenty of passes away from the middle that gave Amesbury’s speedsters opportunities to create scoring chances.

“When we play fast, we play our game,” said Amesbury coach Adam Thibodeau afterwards.

Ashley Pettet (8) chased by Joslyn Deschenes (16)

The Indians (14-5-1) scored both of their goals (Hannaih Burdick, Michaela Halloran) in the first half.  Instead of playing conservatively in the second half, Amesbury just kept attacking.

And there was only one reason why this didn’t end up being a seven or eight goal game: Alex Iacoviello.  The St. Mary’s goalie faced shots from just about everywhere in the second half and dazzled everyone with the saves she came up with.

“She (Alex) kept us in the game,” said Spartans coach Jim Foley.  “Several of her saves were unbelievable.”

Chelsea Lynch stopped by Spartans goalie Alex Iacoviello

“Their goalie was absolutely spectacular,” said AHS coach Adam Thibodeau.

By keeping the heat on the St. Mary’s defense, Amesbury was able to limit the chances the Spartans had.  But the team from Lynn did have several anyhow.

St. Mary’s top scorer (Kayla Demers) had a good look in the second half.

There was also a situation where Amesbury GK Alli Napoli had the ball get away from her after attempting a save.  The ball was loose close to the corner and a St. Mary’s player was about to take a shot at an unguarded net but three Amesbury players slid in to block any straight shot at the goal.

That’s what makes Amesbury so tough: Not only are they fast into the attacking zone but they are also fast to get back to help on defense.

Amesbury GK Alli Napoli (green) gets help from three teammates

“Amesbury is probably the best team in the D4 North,” explained Coach Foley.  “We ended up meeting them a little earlier than I had hoped.”

The #6 Indians will meet #2 Essex Tech in the semifinals on Wednesday night at Manning Field in Lynn.

Freshman Alyssa Pettet (5) pressured by Kayla Demers (27)

Hannaih Burdick’s goal was set up by Emma DiPietro seventeen minutes into the first half.  A throw-in from the left side reached Emma.  Instead of trying to go toward the goal, Emma passed further right to an uncovered Hannaih.

The shot was a long one but Hannaih had experience taking it from that far out.  The shot was a high one and sailed into the top of the net on the left side.

“I thought that the shot had gone over the net,” recalled Hannaih afterwards.

The battle AFTER Michaela’s shot had crossed the line

The second Amesbury goal was set up by Chelsea Lynch.  Down the middle she came with defenders on either side.  Alex Iacoviello came out to challenge and Chelsea’s shot bounced off her and over her.  The ball headed ever so slowly toward the net.  Michaela Halloran saw it and tapped it just enough to get it across the goal line.  Michaela and Morgan Mackie battled for possession inside the net, but the goal had already been scored.

In the second half, St Mary’s (9-8-3) couldn’t get the goal that would have made things more interesting down the stretch.  “We’ve had trouble scoring all season,” added Coach Foley.

The speed of Amesbury has been noted.  Also important is to have players in the midfield who have the dribbling skills to make players miss.  Most opponents attack someone with the ball at full speed.  The talented players often make those attackers miss by pulling the ball back.  Those of us who enjoy watching Charlie Brown attempt to kick a football with Lucy holding the ball know what I mean!  Midfielders Ashley Pettet and Emma DiPietro make players miss on a regular basis.

Freshman Susannah Cornell (17) and senior Ashley Pettet (8)

Morgan Mackie was a standout on defense for St. Mary’s.

Part of the scoreboard was not working.

The lighting in Landry will test the quality of the best of cameras.

Pleasant night in the 50’s.

Pretty good crowd for a Sunday night.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Captains Brooke Taylor (7) and Caitlin Foley (3)

Chelsea Lynch assisted on Amesbury’s second goal

Morgan Mackie

Alex Iacoviello

Maddy Creps in for a testing shot that went just wide.

Michaela Halloran surrounded by Spartans

Chelsea Lynch in on goal

Jenna Foley (22), Maddie McGrath (4), Maddy Creps (2), and Kayla Demers (27)

Waiting to head

 

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Bishop Fenwick reaches D3 North finals again with convincing 56-40 win over St. Mary’s

Bishop Fenwick celebrates a win over St. Mary's and a trip back to the D3 North finals

Bishop Fenwick celebrates a win over St. Mary’s and a trip back to the D3 North finals

Sydney Brennan (17 points) hit four 3's for the second straight tournament game

Sydney Brennan (17 points) hit four 3’s for the second straight tournament game

(Hathorne MA) Bishop Fenwick (20-4) had all the right answers as they eliminated St. Mary’s, 56-40, on Tuesday night at Essex Tech in the D3 North semi-finals.

The Crusaders had a glittering first period putting up seventeen points while the Spartans could manage only two points.

St. Mary’s (19-5) would get within ten (21-11) 3 ½ minutes into the second quarter but BF answered with eight straight points (layups by Ellen Fantozzi and Jaxson Nadeau, drive and jump shot by Fredi DeGuglielmo) before the quarter ended.

Fredi DeGuglielmo (14 points) defended by Kayla Carter and Katie Dixon

Fredi DeGuglielmo (14 points) defended by Kayla Carter and Katie Dixon

On a night when the Spartans struggled from long range (two 3’s) the Crusaders nailed seven. Senior Sydney Brennan (17 points) clicked four times from deep including two in the second quarter. Sophomore Fredi DeGuglielmo (14 points) notched two 3-pointers.

St. Mary’s 2-point first quarter surely brought back memories of the two team’s previous get-together on February 12th. In that 45-27 loss the Spartans were held scoreless in the first half.

The Crusaders full-court pressure paid dividends garnering turnovers (eight in the first quarter) and forcing St. Mary’s to play much faster than they wanted to. The Spartans rushed their way into a bunch of high-percentage shot misses.

Colleen Corcoran uses an Ellen Fantozzi screen to drive to the basket

Colleen Corcoran uses an Ellen Fantozzi screen to drive to the basket

Key player in the game in my opinion was Colleen Corcoran. She got BF off to a good start with the game’s first two baskets. She ended up with nine points and eleven rebounds. To me her greatest value was being the outlet in the backcourt. St. Mary’s applied plenty of pressure too but when BF’s primary ball-handlers were in trouble Colleen was there to get the ball up the court for them.

St. Mary’s had five turnovers in the first two minutes. Most of the miscues were from bad passes.

BF went out 6-0 on two scores by Colleen and a runner by Sydney Brennan.

Olivia Nazaire (15 points) chased by Jaxson Nadeau

Olivia Nazaire (15 points) chased by Jaxson Nadeau

Senior Kayla Carter broke the ice for STM converting a rebound 4 ½ minutes into the quarter. It would be five minutes of game time before the team from Lynn would get more points.

And while the Spartans struggled to score, the team from Peabody struck three times from deep (Sam Mancinelli, Sydney Brennan, and Fred DeGuglielmo) before the first quarter was over.

Down by fifteen after one period, the Spartans moved to within ten after a layup by Kayla Carter and a three from Mia Nowicki. But the Crusader then ran eight unanswered and BF led by eighteen (29-11). Marnelle Garraud drained a three in the final minute but BF still led 29-14 at the half.

Sydney Brennan floats in for two

Sydney Brennan floats in for two

You might imagine that in the second half St. Mary’s would start making some shots, especially long-range, and that Bishop Fenwick would cool off. Didn’t happen.

Sydney Brennan doused any comeback plans by St. Mary’s with three 3’s in the first four minutes of the second half to usher BF into a 40-20 spread.

The Crusaders collected only one point in the final 4+ minutes of this game but the Spartans on this night couldn’t put any long-range accuracy together to get close.

Sophomore Olivia Nazaire (15 points) collected thirteen of her points in the second half.

What a season so far for Bishop Fenwick! They won their first Catholic Central League title since 1997. They also ended eight years of losing to St. Mary’s and have now defeated the Spartans all three times they met this season.

Colleen Corcoran gets one of her eleven rebounds

Colleen Corcoran gets one of her eleven rebounds

Bishop Fenwick moves on to the D3 North title game on Saturday. They will face the winner of the Latin Academy/North Reading game. The Crusaders lost in the D3 North title game last year to Winthrop.

To call Bishop Fenwick’s defense “swarming” may have been an understatement. There were very, very few open looks for St. Mary’s from anywhere.

BF had some breakaways from the Crusaders’ twenty turnovers.

Colleen Corcoran has committed to play basketball for the LeMoyne Dolphins (Syracuse NY) next year. LeMoyne is in the Northeast-10 Conference. Merrimack and Southern New Hampshire are also in that conference.

Eyeing a rebound

Eyeing a rebound

First time at Essex Tech for me. Impressive. The seating was steep but it gave everyone a good view of the game.

Bishop Fenwick box

St. Mary’s box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Sydney Brennan on the break

Sydney Brennan on the break

Jaxson Nadeau finishes a layup

Jaxson Nadeau finishes a layup

Marnelle Garround chased by Sydney Brennan

Marnelle Garround chased by Sydney Brennan

Olivia Nazaire looks to score

Olivia Nazaire looks to score

Marnelle Garraud pressures Sam Mancinelli

Marnelle Garraud pressures Sam Mancinelli

Fredi DeGuglielmo looks for an opening

Fredi DeGuglielmo looks for an opening

Colleen Corcoran in action in front the the Fenwick crowd

Colleen Corcoran in action in front the the Fenwick crowd

 

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St. Mary’s defeats Amesbury 8-5 to take Division 3 North softball title

St. Marys (2014 D3 North champs)

St. Marys (2014 D3 North champs)

Coach Chris Perry accepts the runner-up trophy for Amesbury

Coach Chris Perry accepts the runner-up trophy for Amesbury

(Lowell MA) On Saturday, Amesbury fell behind by two runs in the first inning and came back to defeat Lowell Catholic, 3-2, in the D3 North semifinals.

On Sunday, that fall-behind-thing didn’t work so well as the Indians trailed St. Mary’s (Lynn), 7-0, after two innings and ended up losing the Division 3 North title game, 8-5, to the Crusaders at Martin Field.

St. Mary’s moves on to the state semifinal game versus Greater New Bedford (South winner) on Wednesday night (5PM) back at Martin Field in Lowell.

Spartans start to celebrate

Spartans start to celebrate

The Spartans (17-7) won state titles in 2009 & 2010.  Last year they lost in the finals to Assabet Valley.  The most remarkable thing to me about past performance was that St. Mary’s has been in the D3 North finals for NINE straight years.  If experience means anything in big games they have it.

Amesbury (17-7), despite being down big early, never quit and put runners on base in the innings that followed and left the bases loaded in the fourth (after getting two runs) and in the seventh (after getting one run).

St. Mary’s picked up an insurance run in the sixth inning when Cassi LaFauci’s two-out double scored Alexis Mango with the Spartans eighth run.

That run loomed large in the Amesbury seventh after reliever Mia Nowicki walked in the Indians fifth run with two outs and had to face the Cape Ann League’s MVP Amanda Schell.  Mia escaped by getting Amanda to ground out to second baseman Jen Mucciarone to end the game.

Mia Nowicki

Mia Nowicki

St. Mary’s totaled ten hits but had five of them in their seven-run second inning.  Amesbury had three errors in the game and unfortunately, for them, all three came in the second inning.

In that second inning, the Spartans loaded the bases with two hits and a walk with one out.  Pitcher Rachel Cyr then bobbled Jess Martinello’s grounder and Vanessa VanBuskirk scored.  With two outs and the bases still loaded, another grounder and this time the throw home was over catcher Amanda Schell’s head and two runs scored.  Later a single (Molly Doyle) to center went through CF Sam Stone allowing yet another tainted run.  All seven runs were unearned.

Amesbury began the long road back with two runs in the third and two more in the fourth.

Autumn Kligerman and Rachel Cyr picked up RBI in the third.

collision course

collision course

Jordan D’Orsi started the fourth inning for St. Mary’s.  Consecutive doubles (Zoe Fitzgerald & Lauren Fedorchak) produced a run and after a walk Mia Nowicki came on in relief.  Mia hit the first batter (Amanda Schell) she faced and walked the next batter (Alexis Boswell) forcing in a run.  Here was a key point in this game: bases loaded with one out and Amesbury within three runs.  Mia, however, came up big for the Spartans registering a strikeout and a popout to escape further damage.

Mia Nowicki fanned seven Indians in her 3 2/3 innings of work.  The freshman has plenty of speed and a devastating changeup.

Michaela Hamill pitched three innings for St. Mary’s giving up two runs on five hits.

Third baseman Autumn Kligerman and second baseman Lauren Fedorchak had terrific catches on infield popups.

Alexis Mango

Alexis Mango

Alex Fisher, Alexis Mango, and Mollie Mello each had two hits for St. Mary’s.

Lauren Fedorchak had two hits, scored a run, and had an RBI for Amesbury.

St. Mary’s won an April 22nd game versus Amesbury, 4-1, at Amesbury.  Vanessa Van Buskirk had three RBI in that one.

Weather?  Sunny/Cloudy with an off-and-on breeze.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Sam Stone tries to get back to third

Sam Stone tries to get back to third

Alex Fisher heads for home

Alex Fisher heads for home

Maddie Napoli (25) and Sam Stone (13) chase the same popup

Maddie Napoli (25) and Sam Stone (13) chase the same popup

Autumn Kligerman takes a cut

Autumn Kligerman takes a cut

Meg Aponas slides back into third as Mollie Mello takes the throw

Meg Aponas slides back into third as Mollie Mello takes the throw

Rachel Cyr

Rachel Cyr

Second baseman Jen Mucciarone gets an assist on the final out of the game

Second baseman Jen Mucciarone gets an assist on the final out of the game

Vanessa VanBuskirk

Vanessa VanBuskirk

Zoe Fitzgerald flips to first

Zoe Fitzgerald flips to first

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Amesbury plays well in 4-1 loss to D3 powerhouse St. Mary’s of Lynn

Augie relaxes between innings of the St. Marys/Amesbury softball game

Augie relaxes between innings of the St. Marys/Amesbury softball game

Pitcher Mia Nowicki gets congratulated by teammate Katie Terban

Pitcher Mia Nowicki gets congratulated by teammate Katie Terban

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury didn’t make a full recovery from the nightmarish 16-15 loss to Newburyport last game but their improved play was noticeable.

The Indians (2-2) lost, 4-1, to a very strong St. Mary’s (Lynn) team in a non-league game on a beautiful Tuesday morning.

Sophomore Vanessa VanBuskirk drove in three runs for St. Mary’s (4-1).

The Spartans pitching (sophomore Michaela Hamill and freshman Mia Nowicki) gave up seven hits but it was their ability to strand nine Indians that made the difference.  Twice St. Mary’s pitchers were confronted with bases-loaded situations but yielded just one Amesbury run.

The Spartans scored two runs in the second and two more in the sixth.  The Indians collected their lone run in the fourth.

Pitcher Rachel Cyr gets one of her seven assists.

Pitcher Rachel Cyr gets one of her seven assists.

Rachel Cyr went the distance for Amesbury and pitched well.  The senior was victimized by a trio of infield bleeders in StM’s 2-run second and two walks in the 2-run sixth.

In the Spartans’ second inning, juniors Molly Doyle and Mollie Mello reached on slow rollers that neither AHS shortstop Maddie Napoli nor third baseman Autumn Kligerman had easy chances on.  (Senior Alexis Mango ran for Mollie Mello.)  A wild pitch moved both runners up and Mia Nowicki’s grounder to pitcher Rachel Cyr enabled Molly Doyle to score St. Mary’s first run.  Alexis Mango reached third on the play.  Vanessa VanBuskirk then hit a blooper over the pitcher, but in front of the shortstop, with plenty of spin on it that fell in and drove across the Spartans second run.  Nothing was hard hit but St. Mary’s was up, 2-0, after two innings.

Rachel Cyr gets back to third as Katie Terban applies the tag

Rachel Cyr gets back to third as Katie Terban applies the tag

Amesbury cut the lead in half in their fourth inning and came very close to having an even bigger inning.  Rachel Cyr started things off by reaching on a dropped popup by senior second baseman Jennie Mucciarone.  Autumn Kligerman bunted Rachel to second.  Next batter junior Meagan Aponas took a full swing and got a dribbler to go down the first baseline.  None of the St. Mary’s fielders reacted to it and so Meagan reached first.  Sophomore Sammy Stone then hit a grounder back to pitcher Michaela Hamill who tried unsuccessfully to get Rachel Cyr off of third.  So Amesbury now had the bases loaded with just one out.  They did get a run as Lauren Fedorchak’s fielder’s choice scored Rachel Cyr but Michaela got freshman Maddie Napoli to pop out ending what might have been a much bigger inning.

Mia Nowicki pitched the final three innings for the Spartans.

Against Mia in the fifth, the Indians got senior Lucy Scholz (3 hits) to third with two outs but failed to capitalize.

Jess Marinello scores the Spartans 4th run

Jess Marinello scores the Spartans 4th run

The Spartans put up two runs worth of insurance in the sixth inning.  Rachel Cyr’s only two walks of the game proved costly.  With two outs, St. Mary’s runners (Molly Doyle and pinchrunner Jess Martinello), who had reached on walks, were on second and third.  Vanessa VanBuskirk delivered the two of them with a hard shot to centerfield.

Amesbury trailed, 4-1, with two out in the bottom of the seventh.  But the Indians didn’t go quietly getting consecutive hits from Alexi Boswell and Lucy Scholz.  Amanda Schell extended the inning with a walk loading the bases.  However, Mia Nowicki got Rachel Cyr to fly to senior centerfielder Alex Fisher to end Amesbury‘s hopes for a last-inning comeback.

Amesbury is now in Division 3 as is St. Mary’s so it was a good chance for both teams to check each other out for a possible D3 North tournament game later on.

Vanessa VanBuskirk leads teammate Jennie Mucciarone to the bag

Vanessa VanBuskirk leads teammate Jennie Mucciarone to the bag

Jennie Mucciarone (going to Tufts) was part of St. Mary’s D3 basketball state champs as was Mia Nowicki.

Pitcher Rachel Cyr had seven assists.

St. Mary’s reached the state D3 final last year before losing, 5-2, to Assabet Valley.  The Spartans were 20-6 last season.  Amesbury was 19-3 in 2013 but in Division 2.

Amesbury is scheduled to visit Ipswich tomorrow for a 10AM game……..weather permitting.

Weather?  It is nice to go to an outdoor event in April and feel over-dressed. This was one of those mornings.

St. Mary’s box

Amesbury box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Lauren Fedorchak eyes a popup

Lauren Fedorchak eyes a popup

Alexi Boswell

Alexi Boswell

Maddie Napoli throws to first

Maddie Napoli throws to first

Vanessa VanBuskirk

Vanessa VanBuskirk

Mollie Mello

Mollie Mello

Michaela Hamill

Michaela Hamill

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St. Mary’s routs Hoosac Valley 74-36 to take Division 3 state title

Brianna Rudolph, Jennie Mucciarone, and Sharell Sanders with D3 state title trophy

Brianna Rudolph, Jennie Mucciarone, and Sharell Sanders with D3 state title trophy

(Worcester MA) Hoosac Valley’s plan was to use their speed, force turnovers and make three’s.

Those three had carried the Hurricanes to a 23-win season.

Then along came St. Mary’s in the Division 3 state finals on Saturday morning at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Brianna Rudolph, Sharell Sanders, and Jennie Mucciarone on the break

Brianna Rudolph, Sharell Sanders, and Jennie Mucciarone on the break

Nothing worked for the team from Cheshire and they were buried by the Spartans from Lynn, 74-36, ending a seventeen-game winning streak.

Brianna Rudolph starts to drive

Brianna Rudolph starts to drive

Before the game I had a chat with someone who hadn’t seen St. Mary’s play.  I told them that I doubted that Hoosac Valley had faced a player like Brianna Rudolph.  (I had seen Brianna carry St. Mary’s past Archbishop Williams, 47-45, in the D3 state semi-finals.)

It didn’t take Brianna (Division 1 UMass Lowell commit) long to prove my point.  The Spartans broke away from the Hurricanes in the first three minutes with Brianna (26 points) tallying eight straight – three layups and a jump shot.

That run in the first period gave St. Mary’s (24-2) their initial separation and there was no looking back.

Jen Gale eyes the hoop

Jen Gale eyes the hoop

The ‘Canes were able to stem the tide a couple of times but the lead kept growing.

The Spartans, winners of nine straight, had point runs of: eight, ten, thirteen, eight, and nine.

The only run that the Lady Canes from the Berkshire Country League put together was eight, late in the final quarter.  Three’s by freshman Kailynne Frederick and Maddie Ryan keyed those consecutive points.  Those were the only 3’s Hoosac Valley would get.

This game went from “still undecided” to “out-of-reach,” four minutes into the second half.  During a five minute stretch, starting with a minute left in the second quarter, St. Mary’s outscored the Lady Canes, 21-2, on their way to a 53-19 advantage with twelve minutes of playing time left.

Gianna Moschella (14 points) looks for a rebound along side #22 Maddie Ryan

Gianna Moschella (14 points) looks for a rebound along side #22 Maddie Ryan

Jennie Mucciarone had a layup and three assists in the big run.  Reserve Gianna Moschella added an old-fashioned three and two layups.

Softball has a mercy rule and I couldn’t help thinking that the need for those final twelve minutes to be played (with a team down 34) didn’t seem necessary.  But it was played and St. Mary’s won, 74-36.

It was obvious early on that HV was not going to be able to force the Spartans into turnovers that would lead to quick baskets.  Too many good passers and dribblers on the St. Mary’s team.

Unable to turn pressure into scores the Lady Canes fell back into a half-court defense that had no answers for the take-it-to-the-basket Spartans.

Senior Sharell Sanders ended up with thirteen points including eleven in the first half.  The terrific point guard will be playing for Division 2 Caldwell College (New Jersey) next season.

Sharell Sanders (13 points) finds a direct route to the basket

Sharell Sanders (13 points) finds a direct route to the basket

Another Spartans senior, Jennie Mucciarone sat out the second period with three fouls but was big in St. Mary’s pull away in the second half.  Jennie will play at Division 3 Tufts next season.

Brianna Rudolph (26 points) ended her Spartans career in wonderful fashion.  She was part of a man-to-man defense that had HV going east-to-west in the front court most of the game.  Brianna will be at UMass Lowell in the fall.

Sophomores Kayla Carter (10 points) and Gianna Moschella (14 points) would suggest that the well is far from dry at St. Mary’s.

Maddie Ryan paced Hoosac Valley with ten points.

There was never a lack of effort on HV’s part.  They finish 23-2.

St. Mary’s boxscore

Hoosac Valley’s boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

McKenzie Robinson

McKenzie Robinson

Spartans coach Jeff Newhall with Brianna Rudolph afterwards

Spartans coach Jeff Newhall with Brianna Rudolph afterwards

team picture afterwards

team picture afterwards

Fallon Field drives on Sophia Holmes

Fallon Field drives on Sophia Holmes

Sharell Sanders

Sharell Sanders

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