HARVARD — A pair of struggling teams were looking for their first wins of the season when the Ayer softball team traveled to Harvard to meet Bromfield. Ayer had been hampered by an erratic defense, but the Lady Panthers made all the plays, backing pitcher Ally Fillebrown’s two-hitter in a 7-1 win.
Ayer took control of the game with a five-run first inning with some help from the Bromfield defense and Fillebrown made it stand up. The junior righthander struck out three and walked four.
“Our defense was huge today,” said Ayer coach Dan Civitarese. “Anna Peck played a strong game at shortstop. We have been working a lot on our defense and today it came through. Our offense lagged from the second inning through the sixth, but it was nice to get our first win. Pitching and defense were the keys.”
“We just had a bad first inning and this was our worst hitting game of the season,” said Bromield coach Sue Silver. “Janet Sorrells pitched a very good game and Haley Newsham made a great catch in left field. We made contact offensively but we didn’t hit the ball hard.”
After the first batter of the game popped out, Ayer rallied for five runs, getting just two hits. Sabrina Schwartz got things started by drawing a walk and advanced to third on Hayley Willcox’s single. An errant pick-off throw advanced the runners a base and put Ayer on top 1-0. After another pop-out, Courtney Gintner singled to put runners on the corner. Fillebrown hit a grounder to third base, but Willcox beat the throw home to make it 2-0. Two runs scored when Sydney Wood’s fly ball was dropped before Wood scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-0.
The Lady Trojans got one run back in the bottom of the inning. Julia Vasta walked and Newsham singled. Ayer first baseman Clara Watson made a nice catch of a foul pop-up for the first out before Brittany Lee plated Vasta with a groundout.
Sorrels settled down nicely and tossed goose eggs for the next five innings. She worked out of a jam in the top of the fourth when Wood and Peck singled when she deflected a ground ball up the middle by Schwartz to second baseman Karen Shaw, who fired to first for the final out. Centerfielder Jackie Lee also came up with a solid defensive play in the fifth inning, hauling down a fly ball and firing to first base to complete a double play.
Fillebrown answered back by shutting down Bromfield the rest of the way. The Panthers showed alertness defensively as twice shortstop Peck was able to grab tipped grounders and get outs at first base. Schwartz chipped in by gunning down a basestealer at second base.
Ayer finished off the scoring in the game in the top of the seventh on consecutive singles by Peck, Schwartz and Wilcox and a bases-loaded walk to Celiena DeBalsi. Newsham prevented further damage by ranging into the left center field gap to take an extra base hit away from Sydney Brinkerhoff for the final out.
Fillebrown sealed the deal in quick fashion in the bottom of the inning with a 1-2-3 inning.
Sorrels allowed two earned runs and nine hits over seven innings, striking out two and walking four.
Wilcox paced the Lady Panthers’ offense with four singles and a run scored. Peck played a strong two-way game, getting a pair of singles and a run scored offensively, while handling six chances flawlessly at shortstop.