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DHS Softball earns 7-5 triumph in postseason thriller

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In the opening round of state tournament play on Friday, the Marauders scored four times by batting around the order in the top of the sixth, regaining a lead they would not relinquish in a 7-5 victory over host Medfield on a hot afternoon at Shonda Schilling Field.

Entering with an 11-9 record as the #18 seed in the Division 2 South sectional against the 15th seeded hosts (12-8 regular season), the visitors jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the top of the third. Leadoff batter Kristina Mitchell beat out a grounder, then Brianna Dozier (single, RBI, stolen base, run) reached on an error as Mitchell advanced to third and Dozier took second on the throw in.

The next batter, Jenn Wadman (run), put down a squeeze bunt which the Warrior pitcher, sophomore righthander Jackie Flint (7 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 117 pitches), fielded and threw home to nab Mitchell. Co-captain Katie Nosky (single, walk, RBI) lined to deep center to drive in Dozier who tagged up from third. Mitchell took third on the play and scored her team’s second run when the fielders made a miscue on the relay back to the diamond. The following hitter, Sam Girard (triple, run), connected for a triple just inside the right field line, then made it home on an errant throw.

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Starting pitcher Amanda Carilli (6 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 107 pitches) shut down the hosts through the first two innings, making a key play in the field in the first with two baserunners aboard when she fielded a squibber and threw to Mitchell for the third out. In the second the home team loaded the bases on a single, walk and soft liner that popped out of Wadman’s glove into foul territory, but the Marauder third baseman ranged left to field the next batter’s grounder and fired to Mitchell to keep the ballgame scoreless.

Medfield tied it up in the home half of the third. The leadoff hitter lined a double to right-center, then the next batter hit a deep fly ball to straightaway center. Meaghan Paton (2 singles, stolen base, run) could not track it down, crashing into the fence in the process. She got up and threw the ball back to the infield, but the runner’s speed earned her an inside-the-park home run. Marauder Head Coach Erika Eisenhut went out to check on the center fielder, who indicated she was OK and remained in the game.

With one out the Warriors hit a double to right-center, then scored on a single to left before Carilli induced a ground ball to second base to get out of the inning with the score at 3-3.

The Marauders went 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth, as Flint needed just eight pitches to retire the side. In an unusual circumstance, Carilli moved to first base for the bottom of the fourth and Mitchell went to center as Paton (1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 33 pitches) worked a brief stint and got out of a jam yielding just one run.

Medfield led off with a triple to right, then a pitch got away from Dedham’s battery to make it a 4-3 contest in the hosts’ favor. That batter singled to center, and the next two batters drew walks to load the bases. Paton fell behind the ensuing hitter with three straight balls, but then whipped in two consecutive strikes and coaxed a groundout on the full count.

Carilli retook the mound to start the fifth, with Paton and Mitchell returing to their original positions. After the first batter singled to center, catcher Girard almost picked off the ensuing pinch runner at first on several quick attempts to Mitchell.

The sixth inning would prove decisive. In the top of the frame the Marauders batted around to plate four runs and regain the lead. Nosky started the rally with a single up the middle, and Kristina’s sister Caroline Mitchell (run) came on as a pinch runner. With one out Mitchell stole second to reach scoring position, then moved up to third on Paton’s base hit to center.

On the next pitch Paton swiped second uncontested, and on an 0-1 count Colleen Downing (2 doubles, single, 2 RBI, run) connected for a two-bagger to left to drive in both runners and put the Marauders ahead 5-4. The DHS junior made a big turn around second, and reached third by evading the third baseman’s tag after the latter had taken a few steps toward shortstop to field the throw back to the infield.

Designated batter Gina Reid (single, RBI) reached on a chopper up the middle to plate Downing, and Elizabeth Balzarini entered as a pinch runner. Mary St. Cyr (run) hit a fielder’s choice for a 6-4 groundout, sprinting down the first base line to prevent a double play. Kristina Mitchell (single, double) followed with a double to right that moved St. Cyr to third. The next hitter, Dozier, beat out a grounder to short that allowed the runner at third to score her team’s seventh run. Wadman then hit a line drive but the second baseman snared it.

In the bottom of the sixth Carilli yielded a leadoff single, followed by a walk. The runners advanced as the next pitch got loose, and a fly to deep left made it 7-5. Nosky’s throw in to shortstop Dozier held the runner at second. Carilli got ahead in the count 0-2 on the ensuing batter, who on the third pitch hit a low liner to shallow right. Downing raced in to make a sliding catch, then relayed to Dozier to double off the runner and keep the visitors ahead.

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With two outs in the top of the seventh, Paton lined a single to left and Downing followed with a hit to center to move her teammate up a base. But Flint retired the next batter on a 5-3 grounder to set the stage for the bottom of the seventh and final regulation inning.

 The leadoff hitter stroked a double to left on what looked to be one of Carilli’s few offspeed deliveries. But the Dedham righthander bore down to induce a grounder to shortstop. Mitchell may have come off the bag a bit to catch the throw but in the process she tagged the runner out. Carilli fanned the next batter for the second out. With a full count, the ensuing hitter smashed a rocket back up the middle but the Marauder hurler reacted instantaneously to catch it and give her team a victory in dramatic style.

Afterward Coach Eisenhut praised every DHS player for contributing, and also gave credit to the hosts. “We knew it would be a hitting game both ways. We knew they could hit the ball, we know we can hit the ball on a good day. We had our bats out today. I’m very happy with the way we played. Some things to work on are just executing, getting sacrifice bunts down, because we failed on that a couple of times and in order to beat good teams and the best teams, we definitely have to be sharper there.”

She explained her reasoning for the mid-game pitching substitutions. “It’s definitely a nice luxury to have the two of them, if nothing else to mix it up and break the flow, which is really what we did with Amanda being pulled out the first time,” she said. “It’s nice, too, we can keep everyone in the game and just shift things around, we don’t have to mess with the batting order. Then from Meaghan’s collision with the fence I think we had a little hand issue. That only lasted an inning because she was injured, so we were able to move her right back without any problem.”

She discussed the squad’s resilience in bouncing back from a 4-3 deficit. “We are a young team, so sometimes that can get you down and sometimes this year, to be honest, it has gotten us down. For them to pull through in the tournament is the time we want them to pull through. So props to them for sticking in it.”

Coach Eisenhut recognized the trio of seniors – co-captains Gina Reid, Katie Nosky and Mary St. Cyr – for acting as role models for the younger players. “We have great senior leadership. They’re the type of kids that are going to go out and work their butts off every day. Katie Nosky dove for a foul ball she had no chance of catching, but she dove anyway. Gina came up with big hits. And Mary’s been solid for us all year,” she said. “They’re great kids with great dedication, and absolutely set a great example for the type of mindset we should have.”

After the win, Nosky talked about the squad’s performance. “We played as a team. This was, I think, the first game of the season where we really came out and left everything on the field,” she said. “Our pitchers did their job, our defense did their job, and at the plate everyone did their job.”

The Marauders next play at 4 p.m. on Saturday at #2 seeded Norton (17-3). Coach Eisenhut outlined her team’s mindset. “Right now, everyone’s even. Everything else in the season was practice. Now we’ve just got to come out and execute, pick up on those little things that I talked about earlier. I’ve seen some of Norton’s scores, I’ve seen their score with Medfield, obviously, and I’ve been told we can play with them. So I believe in it.”  

The field is at Norton High School, located at 66 West Main Street. For updates on the tournament, visit www.miaa.net.

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Written by shiretown99

June 1, 2013 at 4:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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