AMESBURY — Sunday’s game against Weston went about as well as it possibly could for Amesbury, but the Indians’ softball team will likely face a much tougher challenge today.
Coming off a 17-1 blowout of No. 22 Weston in Sunday’s first round matchup, Amesbury will face No. 19 Notre Dame Academy (Tyngsboro) in today’s Division III North quarterfinal matchup. The game will be played behind the Amesbury Middle School starting at 3:15 p.m.
Though Amesbury (15-6) and Notre Dame (12-10) have not played each other this season, they shared three common opponents. Each team beat Ipswich twice, with Notre Dame winning its games 14-7 and 6-1, while Amesbury annihilated the Tigers on both occasions, first winning 28-1 before shutting them out 17-0 about a month later. Ipswich finished the season winless.
The two teams also played Rockport twice in the regular season. Amesbury split its series with the Vikings, winning the first game 6-2 in late April before losing 9-8 in mid-May, while Notre Dame lost both of its games, first by a score of 7-6 in the season opener and then again 4-2 in the regular season finale. Rockport was 13-5 in the regular season and finished second in the Cape Ann League Baker Division standings behind Amesbury.
Finally, both teams played Whittier Tech. Notre Dame split its two-game series with the Wildcats, first losing 6-2 on April 24 before winning 5-4 on May 14. Amesbury faced Whittier just once, shutting out the Wildcats 6-0 in the first round of the Methuen Invitational tournament. Whittier went 14-6 overall.
As it turns out, Rockport and Whittier Tech are also the two highest remaining seeds in the tournament and will face off in their own quarterfinal matchup at the same time as Amesbury. The winner of that game could conceivably face Amesbury or Notre Dame in the regional finals, should any advance that far.
Looking at the big picture, Amesbury would likely become one of the favorites to win the North Tournament if the Indians beat Notre Dame. Outside of Rockport and Whittier, most of the other teams who finished with a better record than Amesbury have already been knocked out.