AYER -- West Boylston used a seven-run first inning to skirt past host Ayer Shirley, 13-6, on a blustery afternoon. The Lady Panthers drop to 0-2 on the season.
"The girls didn't get down on themselves when we went down early," first-year Ayer Shirley head coach Terri Rollins said. "There were a couple times when we had some minor errors, but when the wind is coming back at you, it is hard. I understand in years past that when they would get down, they would stay down. That was not the case today."
The Lions batted around in the opening frame and touched up Ayer Shirley starter Kassie Breest for seven runs on six hits. West Boylston center fielder Michaela Hayes raked a 3 RBI double to the gap in left center field to plate Hannah Goodale, Lucia Boudio and Makayla Michalowski. Hayes had a single earlier in the frame and came across on an RBI single by Kristina Economou.
Trailing 7-0 heading into the bottom half of the frame, Ayer Shirley's bats responded with a vengeance. Leadoff hitter Maddie Mitrano reached safely on a four-pitch-walk issued by West Boylston hurler Sarah Johnson.
Junior catcher Tina Babcock reached safely on a dart up the middle. Natalie Carroll worked a full-count walk to load the bases. Five-hole hitter junior Kayla Timmins walloped a 2 RBI single into dead center field which brought around Babcock and Mitrano to cut the Lions' lead to five, 7-2.
Senior captain Sydney Brinkerhoff smacked a hard-hit ball under the glove of West Boylston shortstop Markie Flemming.
Olivia Warila brought across Timmins on a lofty fly-ball to left that caught the jet stream and fell haphazardly to the ground in front of the Lion rightfielder, Boudio.
Breest settled in nicely in the second inning, and so did her defense.
The Lady Panthers did not allow a run in the frame with strong play from the middle infield of Melissa Belanger and Carroll.
Ayer Shirley scrounged up two more runs in the bottom half of the second. Babcock jolted a roaring triple down the left field line.
The ball got down and rolled to the mesh fence. Megan Esielionis's RBI single to right center field plated a sliding Carroll, who reached on a fielder's choice.
Rollins waived around Babcock, but she was gunned down at the plate as the throw from Goodale arrived in the nick of time for the second out of the inning.
That would be all the Lady Panthers could muster in the second as Johnson retired Timmins by way of a strikeout.
Ayer Shirley sliced the West Boylston lead to 7-5 at the end of one, and it would remain that way until the top of the fourth. Johnson's single to left field brought across Kate Nylen.
The Lady Panthers picked up one run in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI double up the middle by Carroll, which brought home Babcock.
West Boylston used a four-run seventh inning to fend of Ayer Shirley.
The Lady Panthers put up a valiant effort in the seventh, but they left the bases loaded.
Babcock led the Lady Panthers with her three hits, which included a triple. Other notable performers included Timmins, who went two-for-four with 2 RBI. "We were able to hit against them," Rollins said. "They hit very well and came back when they were down. They kept their spirits up. The girls did a good job of communicating with each other and staying true to themselves."