(Amesbury MA) Amesbury captured the Division 3 North title with a 3-2, eight-inning walkoff win over St. Mary’s on Saturday afternoon.
Amesbury takes on D3 South champs Case on Monday night at 5PM at the Amesbury Middle School.
Liv DeLong had the big hit for the (15-0) Indians. The hard-hitting junior drove in Ella Bezanson with the game-winner.
“I couldn’t have had a better setup in the eighth,” explained Amesbury coach Jacqui Waters post-game. “Those are my top two hitters.”
Amesbury had only five hits off the Spartans Lily Newhall but two of them came in the decisive eighth.
Earlier, Lauren Celia gave the Indians the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning with a two-run single down the third-base line.
“It felt good to get a hit in a late-season game,” said Lauren.
But the runs didn’t hold up.
St. Mary’s (21-3) took advantage of two Amesbury miscues and tied the score, 2-2, in their half of the sixth inning.
“I liked the way we came back after being down 2-0,” said St. Mary’s coach Frank Pagliuca afterwards.
The Spartans put the pressure on Amesbury in the seventh and eighth.
Felicia D’Alessandro singled with two out in the seventh.
Brooke Mohoney singled and reached second on a Jill Kirby sacrifice bunt with one out in the eighth.
In both situations, Amesbury pitcher Alana Delisle had the defense behind her to keep St. Mary’s from scoring.
“We had an opportunity in the eighth inning and didn’t take advantage of it,” said Coach Pagliuca. “Amesbury had the same opportunity in the eighth inning and took advantage of it.”
That similar situation was having a runner on second base with one out.
After an Ella Delisle popup leading off the decisive eighth, the Indians had their two best hitters whack the two hardest hits of the game.
“I felt it on the end of my bat,” explained Ella Bezanson who doubled to the right centerfield fence, “and I knew it was a good hit.”
In the sixth inning, Amesbury had runners on second and third with two outs. On that occasion St. Mary’s decided to pitch to Alana Delisle even though there was an empty base. The strategy worked perfectly as Spartans’ ace Lily Newhall struck Alana out to end the inning.
Now in the eighth inning, with Ella Bezanson on second base, the option of walking the next batter (Liv DeLong) was again available.
There was a long conference on the mound as the Spartans planned what they would do.
They would pitch to Liv DeLong.
“Liv told me that she was going after the first pitch,” said Coach Waters.
“I was up there ready to hit,” recalled Liv. “I was ready to swing at anything. I saw the first pitch coming and I said, ‘this is it.’”
Liv hit a rope to center field. It hasn’t rained much lately, and the ground out there is hard. Liv’s hit took an up bounce on St. Mary’s CF Marina D’Biasio and Ella was on her way home.
“When Liv hit that ball, I was jumping up-and-down inside,” said Ella.
I asked Coach Pagliuca about choosing not to walk Liv DeLong: “I won’t comment on what I told the pitcher. The girl hit the ball. It is what it is at this point. Liv is a good player, and she took advantage of the opportunity.”
The pitching of St. Mary’s Lily Newhall and Amesbury’s Alana Delisle was very impressive.
“Lily kept a powerful lineup off-balance all game,” said Coach Pagliuca.
Lily gave up five hits and had eight strikeouts. The junior had a no-hitter through four innings.
Alana also yielded five hits but had ten strikeouts.
“Alana is probably the hero of the game,” said Coach Waters. “I had no doubt that I was pitching her today.”
“Alana did so well today,” said her sister Ella who is the team’s catcher. “She hit every spot. She’s so good.”
Ella calls the pitches for her older sister.
“Rise balls and changeups were working, as well as a few screwballs,” said Alana. “Ella was smart about how we used them.”
St. Mary’s had won twelve straight. Their losses were to Gloucester and Bishop Feehan.
This season Amesbury has rolled through the Cape Ann League getting no-hitters from Alana Delisle and Liv DeLong as well as mercy-rule endings in most games.
The weather was pleasantly warm.
Good turnout with the spectators located beyond the outfield fence.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)