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Sachems softball faces uphill battle for playoff berth

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By Dom Nicastro


The Saugus High School softball team dropped three straight heading into this week, and its hopes for qualifying for the postseason are precarious.

“It was a rough week as we unfortunately completed the trifecta, going 0-3,” Saugus softball coach Steve Almquist said. “This puts us at 4-7, and we are at the point now where just about every game is a must-win if we have any hopes of making the state tournament again. We play well at times but just haven’t had the consistency necessary to go on any type of run.”

Almquist said some of his top hitters have had first-half struggles at the plate, but the coach is hopeful there will be a turnaround for the stretch run of the season.

Revere beat Saugus, 15-14. This was a tough one as Revere tried to give Saugus this game with shaky defense, but the Sachems could not capitalize. Revere started a backup pitcher, and Saugus built a 13-6 lead after two innings before the Patriots brought in their No. 1 starter.

“We just couldn’t hold on,” Almquist said. “Of those 13 runs, most came from a combination of 13 walks and hit batters, so we didn’t have to do too much offensively to earn them. Once they brought in their ace, we could only muster one more run.”

Saugus’ defense was the Achilles’ heel in this one as it committed eight errors, six coming from the infield, which is normally a strength. Despite that, Saugus still had a two-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh. But with two outs, Revere was able to score the tying run on a passed ball and the winning run on a walk-off single.

Taylor Deleidi took the loss in this one, giving up 16 hits, three walks, and three strikeouts, but certainly deserved a better fate as the majority of the runs were unearned, according to Almquist.

On offense, Saugus had 10 hits, and the key contributors were as follows:

  • Taylor Deleidi (1-for-3 with RBI and two runs scored)
  • Lily Ventre (2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored)
  • Devany Millerick (2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored)
  • Felicia Alexander (1-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored)
  • Arianna Chianca (1-for-1)
  • Ava Rogers (2-for-5 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored)
  • Danica Schena (1-for-3 with a run scored)

Saugus fell to Beverly, 8-2, on the road.

“We played a much better game in this one against a strong Division 1 team, but still not good enough to come away with the win,” Almquist said. “It was a 3-2 game heading into the bottom of the fifth before Beverly was able to put the game away courtesy of some shoddy infield defense. Taylor Deleidi took the loss but pitched very well.”

Deleidi allowed eight hits on five unearned runs in six innings pitched. She struck out two and walked one. On offense, Saugus had five hits, led by:

  • Ventre (1-for-3 with a double)
  • Rogers (1-for-3 with a double and run scored)
  • Alexander (1-for-3 with a triple, RBI, and run scored)
  • Sydney Deleidi (1-for-3)
  • Sabrina Tamburello (1-for-2 with an RBI; Sabrina is an eighth grader and this was her first varsity RBI)

Marblehead nipped Saugus, 1-0.

“Not the result that we had hoped for, but this was a really well-played game by both teams,” Almquist said. “Marblehead is one of the better teams in Division 2 with a lights-out pitcher (she struck out 12 batters), but we went toe-to-toe with them, playing what I believe was our best game of the season thus far. Taylor Deleidi pitched masterfully, keeping the potent Marblehead offense off balance for most of the game.   Our defense was outstanding in this one as well, particularly Devany Millerick at shortstop and Ava Rogers at third base, but we just couldn’t muster enough offense to push any runs across. We had runners in scoring position a couple of times, but the Marblehead pitcher was able to rise to the challenge and induce strikeouts on both occasions.”

Taylor Deleidi was the hard-luck loser but had a solid day, with seven hits, two strikeouts, and no walks in six innings. Kaitlyn Pugh, Taylor Deleidi, and Ava Rogers each had hits.

Saugus was scheduled to take on Winthrop on Wednesday, Hamilton Wenham on Thursday, and Peabody on Friday.

“It is imperative that we win the week by taking at least two games,” Almquist said. “I am hoping, though, that the Marblehead game will give us some momentum going forward because if we can play like we did in that game, then we can compete with anybody. However, we need to exhibit a sense of urgency and start playing to our capabilities because if not, we will continue to struggle and underperform.”

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