HARVARD — After losing three consecutive games, the Ayer girls softball team needed to turn things around when they visited Bromfield on Wednesday afternoon. The Lady Panthers picked up a win, but the pesky Lady Trojans made them earn it. Ayer banged out 13 hits to pick up a 10-6 victory.
“This was an important win after three losses,” said Ayer coach Dan Civitarese, whose team improved to 5-3 for the season, including 3-1 in MidWach D. “Bromfield came to play and made it tough for us. We hit the ball well but we left a lot of runners on base, and we had trouble putting them away.”
“Casey (Silver) pitched well and we were more aggressive, but patient at the plate against a good pitcher,” said Bromfield coach Sue Silver. “We ran the bases well and this was one of our best overall efforts of the season. Shortstop Julia Vasta and second baseman Erica Adelson both played well for us.”
Ayer scored four runs in the top of the first inning, a frame that had a Hitchcockian look to it as three Lady Panthers struck out, but managed to reach base, two on wild pitches and one on an error. Lauren Pires ripped a two-run double in the inning, and Shelby Sponaugle and Danielle Christy added RBI singles for the 4-0 lead.
Bromfield got one run back in the bottom of the inning when Kaley Nelson reached on an error, moved to second on Elise Fleming’s sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on Julia Vasta’s single, before scoring on the front end of a double steal.
Ayer extended the lead to 6-1 with single runs in the third and fourth innings.
In the third, Christy walked, stole second and scored on Shannon Schwartz’s single.
In the fourth, Gibson singled and scored on Jocelyn Hardgraves single.
Bromfield drew to within 6-3 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth, Emily Reedich and Meghan Bradshaw walked and eventually scored on wild pitches.
After Silver pitched out of a jam in the top of the fifth, getting an inning-ending groundout after Jess Peck and Taylor Fox had singled, Bromfield sliced another run off the lead when Silver singled, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Maria Vasta’s single.
The Lady Panthers got that run back in the top of the sixth on a run-producing single by Shannon Gallagher, but Bromfield bounced back in the bottom of the inning with two runs to make it a 7-6 game. Nelson singled and Fleming walked to set the table, and both scored on a wild pitch and an ensuing errant toss to the plate.
Ayer gained valuable breathing room in the top of the seventh with a two-out rally. Shelby Sponaugle drove in one run by coaxing a bases-loaded walk, before Sabrina Schwart’s clutch, two-run single made it 10-6.
Emily Reedich led off the bottom of the seventh with a bunt single, but Gibson bore down to strike out the next three hitters to seal the deal.
Gibson (three runs scored), Peck and Jocelyn Hardgraves (two runs scored, RBI) each had two singles for the Lady Panthers. Second baseman Pires turned in a strong defensive effort.
Silver allowed two earned runs and 13 hits in her complete game effort, striking out five. Nelson led the Bromfield offense with two singles and two runs scored.