Tag Archives: Gabby Muniz

St. Mary’s defeats Rockport 8-1 in the Division 3 North softball semi-finals

This was the view looking down the third baseline before the first weather delay.

Alison Butler stands on second after driving in two runs in the fourth.

(Lowell) My mother used to have to tell me to come in out of the rain.  During thunder and lightning I didn’t have to be told!

That’s why, after 3 ½ innings I left the St. Mary’s/Rockport game as it went into it’s second delay.  The first delay was over a downpour that necessitated work on the infield after it ended.  The second delay was over dark clouds, rumbles of thunder and lightning.

When I saw the players heading for their buses, as I sat it my car during the second delay, I was not optimistic about the game resuming.  So I headed for home…….and missed the final 3 ½ innings of St. Mary’s 8-1 win over Rockport in the Division 3 North softball semi-finals on Friday afternoon/evening.

Brooke LAbbe – winning pitcher

When I left after 3 ½ innings, the Spartans had a commanding 5-0 lead and St. Mary’s starter Brooke L’Abbe had retired nine Vikings in a row after leadoff batter Hannah Lorden’s ground single in the first.

After being retired one-two-three in the first inning St. Mary’s displayed it’s long game with doubles in each of the next three innings.

Two of those doubles (Kaleigh Finigan and Brooke L’Abbe) were hit over outfielders’ heads.  The other was a “speed” double by Alison Butler.  Those extra-base hits drove in four of the five Spartan runs.

Rockport threatened in the first.  Hannah Lorden singled and got as far as third before catcher Mollie Watson ended the inning flying to left.

Rockport (16-5) finishes with their best softball record in school history.  They’ll have some key players to replace, especially four-year pitcher Kristin Turner, but several of the Cape Ann League’s best (shortstop Gabby Muniz and catcher Mollie Watson) have Viking season’s ahead.

St. Mary’s resume is enough to scare most teams.  They were state champs in 2009 & 2010.  They’ve been D3 North champs for four straight seasons.  Any losses they have are usually to higher division opponents.

St. Mary’s will face league rival Matignon in the final on Sunday at 1PM at Martin Field in Lowell.  (My intentions are to be there……..for the whole game!)

Kaleigh Finigan – missed the Spartan loss to Matignon during the regular season

The Spartans have defeated Matignon two of the three times they played each other this season.  The 9-7 Matignon win on May 4th would need some sort of asterisk beside it since Spartan slugger Kaleigh Finigan didn’t play.

Two things that caught my attention during this game: (1) St. Mary’s outfielders play extremely shallow, and (2) Rockport’s first baseman (Kendra Adams) and third baseman (Kayla Parisi) were halfway between their bases and home during the at-bats of the first two Spartan batters.

The Spartan outfielders were very fast so even if a ball went over their heads the runner would only get a double.  During the three Rockport innings I saw, the Spartan outfielder never had to move back once.

That playing-close routine at first and third is worrisome to me.  I would like it a lot better if the fielders were wearing protective masks, but they weren’t.  I know that the theory for the positioning is to have to cover less ground on a bunt but without a mask it’s way too risky for my taste.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge if you click on them.)

Victoria Viger catches a popup in the second inning.

Kendra Adams chases a foul pop in front of the Spartan dugout. (The ball is along the railing.)

Courtesy runner Cassandra LaFauci heads for third and home on the Kaleigh Finigan single in the third.

catcher Genevieve Benoit

Gabby Muniz

Meghan Tupper

Kristin Turner

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Newburyport upsets Rockport 3-2 in Cape Ann League softball

Catcher Lauren Singer handles the throw as Kayla Parisi approaches

Lauren turns to tag Kayla

Lauren tags Kayla

Winning pitcher Beth Castantini fields a bunt by Amanda Chalmers

(Newburyport)  The Newburyport Clippers (6-5) may have turned their season around with this one.

The Clippers beat a very good Rockport team, 3-2, at Cashman Park on Monday afternoon in Cape Ann League play.

(I did not arrive in time to fill out a scorebook but I did have my camera and will provide some commentary as well.)

Rockport (9-2) has already won Division 3 of the Cape Ann League but they have now lost two of their last three.

Newburyport, on the other hand,  has been a disappointment.  Last year the 17-5 Clippers found ways to win.  This year the reverse has happened more times than expected.

Mollie Rowe takes a throw to get Haley Lorden at first in the seventh.

That’s why the win over Rockport may be the signal of better days ahead.  Here was a game in which pitching, hitting, and defense all clicked when needed and a game they could have been lost by Newburyport was won.

Winning pitcher Beth Castantini was several times within a pitch of walking in a run but it never happened.

The Clipper hitters put hits together early to grab a two-run lead and later came up with the game winner after Rockport had rallied to tie the score.

The Newburyport defense was also strong.  There was a dropped popup but the team was mistake-free otherwise.  Kendra Dow made several long/strong throws from short.

The most important Clipper play in the game was turned in by leftfielder Catherine Casellini.  In one of the early innings, catcher Lauren Singer tried to nail a runner getting back to third. Her throw sailed over third baseman Maddie Stanton’s head……but there stood Catherine, where she was supposed to be, backing the play up.  Catherine caught the errant throw and the run was saved.

And against a good team like Rockport, all those things had to be in place or the result would have been different.

Rockport’s Kristin Turner pitched well enough to win and the defense behind her, especially shortstop Gabby Muniz, was very good.  However, with base runners all over the place Rockport never turned the makings of big innings into realities with a clutch hit or two.

And if you’re looking for just one reason for the Viking loss, pin it on base running.  They made three outs on the base paths.  One runner was picked off third, another was out by plenty at the plate, and the final out of the game was a failed attempt at stealing second.

Rockport pitcher Kristin Turner talks with Coach Diane Parisi after getting hit by a line drive.

A scary moment happened in the sixth inning when a sharp Lea Tomasz liner grazed off the top of the head of Rockport pitcher Kristin Turner.  She and the rest of us were thankful that she was wearing a face shield.

The weather was downright pleasant at Cashman Park.  What happened to the wind, mist, and temps in the 40s?

I learned at the game that Kristin Turner learned to pitch from her older sister who pitched for Beverly.  The older sister now attends Salem State.

I thought that there might be some sort of on-site newspaper coverage of the game.  However, when I checked the CAL schedule afterwards for today, I noticed that 10-1 Masco was playing 10-1 Amesbury at Amesbury today.  I suspect that the details of that game will be extensively covered.

Rockport will host Amesbury on Wednesday, weather permitting.  On the same projected rainy day, Newburyport is scheduled to visit Pentucket.

(The pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Shortstop Gabby Muniz

Rockport catcher Mollie Watson catches a foul pop.

Kendra Adams scores a Rockport run

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