(Amesbury) Amesbury fell from the undefeated ranks as surprising Triton upset them, 4-3, on a lovely Monday afternoon of Cape Ann League softball.
Triton (4-4) has now won four of their last five games and have certainly come a long way since their, 12-2, nonleague loss to Amesbury in the opener on April 10th.
The Indians (8-1) were coasting through five innings thanks to pitcher Carolina Merrill. Triton was hitless and she had allowed only two baserunners on walks. Amesbury had built up a 3-0 lead and looked completely in charge.
But visions of a no-hitter ended in the sixth inning. Pinch hitter Rose Gaffin hit a leadoff single to left and Alexa Reilly ran for her. That was the end of the no-hitter.
Amesbury’s three-run lead also disappeared before that sixth inning was over. Three errors (Lauren Fedorchak, Cassie Schultz, Autumn Kligerman) opened the door for the three Vikings runs that tied the score.
On the first error (drop of a throw) it took an overrule by the home-plate umpire or there would have been a forceout at second base.
The second error was a throw after picking up a bunt try that went past first into right field. Alexa Reilly beat the throw home…..somehow, for Triton’s first run.
The Indians looked to be out of the inning with a 3-1 lead in place but a two-base throwing error enabled both Mara Spears and Rylee Culverwell to cross with the runs that tied the score.
Now tied going into the seventh, the Vikings pushed across what turned out to be the winning run. Julia Hartman singled to left with one out. Casey Ross ran for Julia. Alexa Reilly sacrifice bunted Casey to second with two outs. Mara Spears singled into right field and Casey Ross was able to score before Mara was thrown out trying for second.
On that run-scoring play, Mara’s single reached rightfielder Jenna Bartley in a hurry. Her quick throw in was cut off by pitcher Carolina Merrill who appeared to have a good shot at the baserunner trying to score. But the throw instead went to second (getting Mara) as the run scored.
Pitcher Mara Spears retired the Indians in order in the bottom of the seventh to notch the win. Mara, in fact, retired the last seven Amesbury batters in order.
Amesbury scored their first run in the second inning. Alexi Boswell (two hits/two runs) tripled to left with one out. Amanda Schell drove Alexi home with a single to right. The Vikings escaped further damage that inning when Erin Leary lined to short (Kelsey Trudel) and Cassie Schultz was picked off second after the catch.
The Indians would add two more runs in the fifth inning. Alexi Boswell singled down the thirdbase line then reached third after a steal and a sacrifice bunt. Erin Leary blooped a single over the pitcher to score Alexi with two outs. Erin would then score Amesbury’s third run when Ashley Valme’s high fly to right center was dropped when Vikings rightfielder Cara Orlandi collided with centerfielder Rachel McCarthy. Next play, however, Rachel made a nice running catch in left center to get the Vikings out of the inning.
Mara Spears has been a key to Triton’s turnaround. In the 12-2 loss in the opener she allowed thirteen hits. This time around there were only six hits and none in the last 2 1/3 innings with the game on the line.
There was a scary moment for Mara and the rest of us on hand. In the bottom of the fifth, after Amesbury had scored a couple of runs, Mara threw a pitch and crumpled to the ground. It looked serious and having seen Cori Simons down and out five days ago you feared the worst. However, Mara got up, got some medical counsel, and resumed not allowing a base runner the rest of the way.
Carolina Merrill deserved a better fate. The talented senior surrendered only three hits and one earned run. Her normally defensively reliable teammates let her down in Triton’s 3-run sixth.
Ashley Valme and Alexi Boswell each had two hits for Amesbury.
Besides pitching the six-hitter, Mara Spears had a hit, scored a run, and had an RBI.
Cara Orlandi and Peyton Hunt tried to bunt with two strikes on them in the fifth and ended up striking out.
Third baseman Rylee Culverwell and catcher Julia Hartman had trouble with Autumn Kligerman’s bunt in the fourth inning.
The last time Amesbury lost was June 3, 2012 to Danvers (2-0) in the Division 2 North quarterfinals at Danvers.
Cori Simons was a frustrated spectator for Triton. She hopes to get back playing before too long.
Next for Triton is hosting Lynnfield on Wednesday. On the same day Amesbury travels to Newburyport.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)