By Jeff Hamrick
---- — LOWELL — The end of the road for Amesbury was not only fatally quick, but also completely avoidable.
Taking advantage of three Amesbury errors, No. 8-seeded St. Mary’s scored seven times in the second inning, en route to an 8-5 victory at Martin Field. No. 6 Amesbury didn’t surrender easily, but eight unearned runs proved too steep a deficit — especially against a program that now has won six of the past seven Division 3 North crowns.
“We had that one inning,” coach Chris Perry said of his squad, which had the tying run at the plate in the fifth and the go-ahead run at the plate in the seventh. “Although, overall we played great except for that one inning. All you can say (after the top of the second) is, ‘The bad news is you gave up seven runs in the inning. The good news is you have six more to go.’ “
And the Indians (17-7) did mount several challenges.
“I hate almost some times getting that big lead early because I know (the Indians) come back and chip away,” St. Mary’s coach Colleen Newbury said. “They’ve done that against a lot of teams in their (Cape Ann) conference where they’ve gotten down early but come back to win games. So I thought, ‘Oh, no. Here we go,’ when they started to get back.”
A two-run third highlighted by a Samantha Stone double and RBIs from Autumn Kligerman and Rachel Cyr cut the deficit to five. Amesbury added two more in the fourth on back-to-back doubles from Zoe Fitzgerald and Lauren Fedorchak and a bases-loaded walk to Alexis Boswell.
After allowing a final run in the sixth, Amesbury mounted a serious threat in the seventh. A one-out single by Megan Aponas proceeded a pair of walks and a single, but freshman hurler Mia Nowicki shut the door. Nowicki, who entered the game having struck out 83 in 50 innings of work, struck out seven in her 3 1/3 relief innings yesterday.
The cat-scratching comeback was typical of Amesbury’s season.
“Early in the year we were 2-2, and not playing very well,” Perry said. “So I have to say for this team to come back like they did, I am very proud of them. They worked hard. This group really improved and did a nice job.”
Starter Rachel Cyr, who along with Fedorchak had four of Amesbury’s nine hits, hurt her cause with two of the five errors. But she was quietly efficient the rest of the game.
More than a third (39) of her 105 pitches came in that fateful second. She finished with four strikeouts against three walks and nine hits.
“I thought Rachel pitched great after that second inning,” Newbury said.
“Unfortunately, defensively she kind of made her own plays there a little bit. But she pitched a great game.”
ST. MARY’S (LYNN) - 8
AMESBURY - 5
C — Schell 0-4
RF — Boswell 1-3, 1 run, 1 RBI
3B — Kligerman 0-4, 1 RBI
P — Cyr 2-4, 1 RBI
LF — Aponas 1-4, 1 run
DP — Scholz 1-2
1B — Fitzgerald 1-3, 1 run
2B — Fedorchak 2-4, 1 run, 1 RBI
CF — Stone 1-2, 1 run, 1 RBI