Crimson Tide girls continue to mow down opponents with solid pitching, crisp defense, potent bats
It was a fait accompli for the powerhouse Everett High School softball team (8-1 in the Greater Boston League, 10-1 overall) after two more convincing wins last week, which sealed an early Division 1 state tournament berth with still pretty much the entire second half of the regular season ahead of them.
The Crimson Tide girls got it started with a 17-5 thrashing of Malden on April 26 at Glendale Park. It was another five-inning mercy rule game. Kristi Skane pitched all five innings, allowing six hits, one walk and three earned runs. She fanned six.
The Everett girls scored four runs right away in the first inning. Leadoff batter Emma Longmore singled up the middle to begin the uprising. Emilia Babcock popped up a single to the outfield, but Longmore was thrown out at third. Babcock then stole second, before Skane singled. Both runners then trotted home on Kayley Rossi’s three-run blast. Gianna Masucci followed with a walk, and advanced to second on a passed ball. She scored on a fielder’s choice by Alexa Uga to account for the fourth run of the inning.
The Tide tacked on three more runs in the second. With one out, Longmore and Babcock singled, and Skane doubled in Longmore. Ashley Seward also had a double, scoring both Babcock and Skane to give her teammates a 7-0 lead.
The Golden Tornadoes then trimmed the deficit to three, thanks in large part to three rare Everett errors. “Defensively, this was not our inning,” said coach Stacy Schiavo. “We dropped routine fly balls, while others bounced away from us.”
Everett broke it open again with six more runs in the fourth. With one out, Babcock first hit a homerun to ignite the offense. Skane and Rossi then singled, setting up Masucci for a three-run homer. Uga then reached first on an error. Mason Drew and Arabella Cvitkusic drew walks to load the bases, before Longmore belted a double knocking in two.
Malden got one back in the fifth, but the home team ended the game with another four runs to invoke the mercy rule. Skane singled with one out ahead of Seward’s two-run round tripper to get the offense going again. Masucci then technically hit a homerun, but was held on third by the coach to get a few more at-bats for her teammates, and Uga took advantage by doubling in Masucci. Jules Curran then knocked in the run that ended the game.
Schiavo, who has been thrilled by the fan support in recent games, had more praise for Skane after she recorded another win with her arm and bat. “(Skane) pitched great,” the veteran coach said. “We had one bad inning on defense, but we got right back up to the plate and made up for it.”
The Tide girls then took their act on the road, and headed to Boston to face non-league foe John O’Bryant. It was more of the same lopsided results, with the visitors coming out on top, 12-2 on April 27.
Skane threw five more innings in the circle, yielding two hits, two walks and two earned runs, before the slaughter rule took effect, once again. She also whiffed nine.
After being held scoreless in the first, the Tide exploded for six runs in the second. Seward and Masucci each singled to get it going, and moved up to scoring position on passed balls. Uga then singled to left to bring home Seward, while Masucci scored on a double by Curran. Longmore accounted for two more RBI to extend the lead, before eventually stealing third. Babcock and Skane followed with walks to load the bases, setting the stage for Rossi, who doubled in the final two runs of the inning. They added two more in the third on a two-run homer by Bryanna Mason after Uga doubled to set it up.
With two outs in the fourth, Seward reached first on an error to begin another offensive outburst, and then was awarded second on a dead ball. Masucci reached on another error, with Seward advancing to third. Masucci also got into scoring position after stealing second. Uga then singled home both, before Mason’s double delivered the team’s 11th run.
The Tide accounted for their final run in the fifth. It all started with a Babcock single. She then stole second, before moving to third on a passed ball. With two outs, Seward reached first safely on a dropped third strike, with Babcock scoring on the subsequent throw to first.
O’Bryant avoided the shutout with two runs in the home half of the fifth, but it was simply too little, too late.
“This 10th win against O’Bryant got us into the tournament,” said Schiavo. “I’m so proud of this team, and how well they are working together to get these wins. They are consistently working to get better, and it clearly shows this year with all of our solid pitching, hitting and defense.”
On the season to date, Skane has pitched 57 innings, giving up 35 hits, 11 walks and 24 runs, 19 of them earned. She has a 2.33 earned run average.
The team’s leaders in batting average are so far: Emilia Maria-Babcock (.641), Ashley Seward (.515) and Alexa Uga (.514). Seward (5), Bryanna Mason (4), Maria-Babcock (3), Uga (2), Gianna Masucci (2), Kayley Rossi (2), Emma Longmore (2) and Skane (1) are the homerun leaders. Seward (18), Uga (17), Rossi (16), Maria-Babcock (15), Longmore (15), Masucci (11), Skane (11) and Bryanna Mason (10) lead the way in RBI. Maria-Babcock (9) and Longmore (7) are the two top base stealers. Longmore (17) has garnered the most walks on the team throughout the first half of the regular season.