TYNGSBORO — The young North Middlesex softball team is clearly a work in progress, but the Lady Patriots showed progress in a number of categories during Wednesday’s game at Tyngsboro.
The story didn’t have a happy ending for the Lady Patriots, as the Tigers prevailed 9-8 by pushing a run across in the bottom of the seventh, but North Middlesex showed a willingness to battle to the final out. All losses are not created equal and the confidence gained from continuing to battle when trailing will pay dividends in the future for the Lady Patriots.
Tyngsboro held an 8-4 advantage entering the seventh, but the Lady Patriots wouldn’t go away. Shawnna Harris led off the top of the seventh with a single, and after a strikeout Jackie Potvin singled. A double steal moved the runners to second and third. Marissa Amichetti’s groundout plated Harris to make it 8-5. Carmel James walked to keep the rally alive, and moved to second while Potvin scored on a wild pitch. Julia Murray singled and stole second, before Emily Rapoza’s clutch two-run single tied the game at 8-8.
“I’m happy with how aggressively we played and the way we hung in and rallied in the seventh inning,” said North Middlesex coach Becky Jackson. “The four-run rally was started by the middle to the bottom of our line-up, and that was nice to see.”
Tyngsboro rained on the Lady Patriots’ parade by pushing the winning run across in the bottom of the inning on Emily McPadden’s RBI single, but Jackson was pleased with the effort of her team.
“We played really well and today we hit the ball and battled,” she said. “Hanna Lawrence pitched a great game for us in just her second varsity start. She showed a lot of poise and did a nice job of keeping us in the game until we could mount our late comback attempt.”
The Lady Patriots took the lead in the top of the first when Murray and Rapoza singled and scored on Shannyn Muldoon’s double.
The Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a two-run double by Taylor Stimpson, and moved in front 5-2 with three runs in the second.
Both pitchers settled down and tossed goose eggs over the next two innings. Lawrence showed a lot of poise, grabbing Hanna Bovill’s hot smash for the third out in the third, and wriggling out of a jam in the fourth, stranding runners at second and third when third baseman Amy Clement ranged to her left to spear a hard ground ball by Katie Hustins and firing to first to end the inning.
North Middlesex drew to within a run with two runs in the top of the fifth. Muldoon and Clement led off with singles, before Harris’ reached on a fielder’s choice with Muldoon erased at third base. Danielle Cobleigh walked to load the bases. Amichetti hit a hard ground ball to the right side to score Clement before Harris scored on an error to make it 5-4.
After Lawrence held the Tigers at bay in the bottom of the inning, a solid defensive play by Tyngsboro kept the lead intact in the top of the sixth. With Muldoon on second, Clement ripped a line drive to the left center field gap that was hauled in by centerfielder Stimpson.
The Tigers created breathing room in the bottom of the inning with three runs, keyed by Caitlin Hanson’s RBI single to move in front 8-4, setting the stage for North MIddlesex’s last inning rally.
“I was very happy with how we played,” said Jackson. “The girls come to practice every day and work hard and learn.”
Murray led the North MIddlesex offense with four singles, followed by Muldoon with two singles and a double, and Rapoza and Harris with three singles apiece.