Elaine Lanza pitched a brilliant no hitter to lead the Winthrop High softball team to a 4-0 win over Mt. Alvernia Tuesday. Lanza, who was just one walk away from recording a perfect game, fanned eight Mt. Alvernia batters over seven innings.
“It was a fantastic performance by Elaine,” said WHS head coach Dave Guffey. “She pounded the strike zone all game and only went to a full count on three batters. And she did it under the hottest weather conditions I can ever remember for a softball game,” he added, referring to the 90 degree temperatures of Tuesday afternoon.
Guffey also praised his team’s defense in the field, noting that Haley Benson had three putouts and three assists; Liana Ferullo had nine putouts; and Abby “The Varitek of the Vikings” Belcher called a great game and helped to keep the no-hitter intact by fielding a nicely placed bunt in the final inning and throwing out the batter at first.
The game was a quick one thanks to the strong pitching on both sides. The Lady Vikings only had six hits, but made the most of them, led by Belcher, who was 3 for 3 with two triples and two runs scored.
Winthrop scored all the runs that Lanza would need in the opening frame when Belcher singled, moved from first to third on Lanza’s sacrifice bunt, and scored on a sac fly by Benson.
Belcher got things rolling again in the third when she led off with a triple and came home on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze. In the fifth, Ferullo led off with a walk and scored on Belcher’s second triple of the game. The Lady Vikings added an extra insurance run in the seventh when Taylor Brown led off with a walk, stole second and third, and came home on another suicide squeeze by Amanda Brogna.
“It was a good chance for us to manufacture some runs,” said Guffey. “We were hitting the ball hard all game, but we seemed to hit it right at them every time.”
The no hit victory in the heat took the edge off the disappointment of the Lady Vikings’ two previous games.
Last Wednesday’s showdown with Danvers for first place in the NEC South Division was postponed until Saturday because of rain. The contest at Cellucci Field Saturday afternoon was a back and forth battle that may have been the game of the year for seven innings.
Winthrop jumped out to an early lead when Belcher walked, moved to second on a sac bunt by Lanza, and, after a walk was issued to Benson, came home when Brown delivered a double.
The Lady Vikings held their 1-0 lead until the third inning when Danvers stuck for three runs. The Lady Falcons added to their advantage with two more in the fourth to make 5-1.
However, Winthrop bounced back for three markers in their half of the fourth. Brogna started things off with a single, but was cleared from the base paths on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Rachel Delsolio. A single by Alex Ferri and a triple by Ferullo plated two runs and a double by Belcher brought in Liana to tighten the score to 5-4.
Winthrop knotted matters in the fifth when Brown walked, Andrea Martucci singled, and a sac bunt by Brogna moved the runners to second and third. An infield hit by Delsolio then loaded the bases and Ferri drew a base on balls to force in Brown. Winthrop had a chance to blow the game open, but a line out and a strikeout kept the Lady Vikes from doing any further damage.
The teams went into extra innings tied at 5-5., but in the eighth, Danvers exploded for seven runs on seven walks, two doubles, and a triple for a 12-5 victory.
“The final score obviously doesn’t reflect how close the game was,” noted Guffey. “It was a great effort by two good teams.”
The left over funk from the loss to Danvers was on full display two days later when the Lady Vikings took on Swampscott.
“We just didn’t play well,” said Guffey. “I think we were still down and had trouble focusing on this game.”
Winthrop spotted Swampscott six runs in the first inning, and though the Lady Vikings answered back with three runs in the bottom of the first, they never were able to get back into it. Swampscott added to its margin with two runs in the fifth and one each in the sixth and seventh.
“We made too many mistakes and gave up too many walks,” said Guffey, referring to the 10 free passes issued to Swampscott batters and the three Lady Viking errors. The Lady Vikings now stand at 13-7 and were set to wrap up regular season last night (Wednesday) at Cellucci against Saugus.
Guffey and his crew will get some rest as they await the state tourney seedings and pairings to be announced next week Their only action will be a scrimmage on Memorial Day (Monday) morning at 11:00 at Cellucci vs. the Winthrop High Softball Alumni. All are welcome.