GROTON — On Friday afternoon, the Groton-Dunstable softball team hosted Fitchburg in a non-league tilt, and the Crusaders brought their ‘AA’ game with them – Ash and Antonellis, who keyed a clinical 5-0 win.
Sophomore Alyssa Ash was in command throughout on the mound, tossing a complete-game one-hitter with six strikeouts and one walk. Sophomore second baseman Celina Antonellis turned in a splendid two-way effort, handling six defensive chances flawlessly, while being the ultimate disruptive force offensively. In her four plate appearance, she had an infield hit and three bunt singles, including one with the bases loaded. Her blazing speed paid dividends on both sides of the ball.
Ash struck out the first batter she faced in the game with a dastardly change-up, and pitched around a hit batsmen, and the Lady Crusaders scored the only run they would need in the bottom of the inning against Fitchburg starting pitcher Janelle Forgues. Antonellis led off with an infield single and moved to second base on Meg McLean’s sacrifice bunt. After Antonellis moved to third on a wild pitch, she scored when Ash reached on an error to make it 1-0.
The Lady Crusaders padded the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second. Kiersten Bieren, Ariana Cho and Maddy Bugbee singled to load the bases with one out. Antonellis plated Bieren with a perfect bunt, before McLean hit a ground ball to shortstop, and the throw was late to home plate as a hustling Cho scored to make it 3-0.
Groton-Dunstable added two more runs in the bottom of the third to extend the advantage to 5-0. Erin Olson led off with a single and Bieren laid down a bunt. The throw to first wasn’t caught as Olson advanced to third and Bieren moved to second. Lindsey Werner walked to load the bases, before a wild pitch advanced all three runners. Another wild pitch scored Cho, who had reached on a fielder’s
In the top of the fourth, a pair of solid defensive plays by Groton-Dunstable kept Ash’s no-hitter intact. Kaitie Harndon hit a ball toward second that Antonellis charged, short-hopped and fired to first for the out. The next hitter, Joslyn Gallagher sent a hard ground ball toward the middle that shortstop Werner ranged to her left, scooped and fired to first for the out.
Fitchburg picked up its first hit in the top of the fifth with one out when Alexis Dellogono singled to right center field, but the next batter, Stephanie Atteridge ripped a line drive up the middle that Ash speared and tossed to first to complete the double play.
Forguez allowed three earned runs and eight hits over four innings of work, and was relieved by Jordan Thomas who was strong over the final two scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out five.
Ash finished off her gem in style by retiring the final six hitters she faced.
Cho enjoyed a productive game at the plate with a pair of singles and two runs scored.
Kayla Caban turned in a strong defensive effort for the Red Raiders from her shortstop position.
Groton-Dunstable improved to 2-1 with the win.