By Jim Sullivan
---- — NEWBURYPORT — Looking for a bounce-back win after its first loss of the season to Triton Monday, the Amesbury softball team traveled to Newburyport yesterday and put its setback in the rear-view mirror.
Thanks to a brutal second inning for the Clippers that saw the Indians bat around the order twice amidst 12 hits, the Indians (9-1) came away with an 18-0 victory in five innings.
“I wish we didn’t have to have bounce-backs,” said Indians coach Chris Perry. “(Today) we just had a great inning.”
Newburyport (5-4) sent junior Victoria Allman to the circle the top of the first inning, and the right-hander gave up a one-out single to Amanda Schell, who then stole second and came home on a double from Cassie Schultz. Allman settled down next, striking out Ashley Valme and getting Erin Leary to pop out to end the threat.
Clipper leadoff batter Kendra Dow reached on a single in the bottom of the frame and moved over on a sacrifice bunt. Lea Tomasz smacked a double out to centerfield next, but Indians pitcher Carolina Merrill got the next two batters via strikeout to escape unscathed.
Then the top of the second inning happened, and the Indians began teeing off on Allman. Autumn Kligerman started everything off with a single out to left and was bunted over by Lauren Fedorchak. A single from Janine Fatal loaded the bases and Schell scored two with a double to leftfield. Schultz scored two more with a triple in the next at-bat before Valme scored her on a single. Leary scored Valme with a double. Kligerman scored her on a single, then scored herself thanks to a Fedorchak single. Another five runs would follow while Schultz recorded her 100th varsity hit to put Amesbury up 14-0.
Newburyport coach Lori Solazzo declined comment after the game after Amesbury did its talking on the field.
“I said when I got to the field that I felt good,” said Schultz, who has been playing varsity since freshman year. “I’ve been feeling very well lately.”
Schell sent a triple out to left in the top of the fourth and scored on a passed ball before Schultz scored on an error. The Amesbury train kept on rolling in top of the fifth as two more runs scored before Tomasz made a spectacular diving catch with the bases loaded. But with a 12 plus-run deficit and five innings in the book, the mercy rule was cited after the Newburyport bats remained silent in the bottom of the fifth, and everyone went home early.
“We did everything right,” Perry said of the second inning. “We got hits, and they made a couple of errors, and it’s just one of those things that happens. The last time we played them, a week ago, it was 4-1, and we were hanging on by a thread. You just never know.”
“Newburyport is a great team and it is always great playing them,” said Schultz. “The rivalry is still fresh, it doesn’t matter. Credit to our pitcher, Carolina Merrill. She’s doing a great job this year.”