DANVERS — Swampscott High head softball coach Frank Kowalski has to be pleased with the way his team has begun the season.
Last year, the one thing the Big Blue seemed to lack was consistency. But that hasn't been a problem this spring as they've already recorded back-to-back Northeastern Conference wins.
Yesterday's 7-3 victory over Danvers proved to be even more important to Swampscott's veteran lineup, which lost both of their meetings to the Falcons a year ago.
"Danvers is always the team carries our conference," said Kowalski. "They have a great program, so it's a good win whenever we can beat them."
Timely hitting proved to be the difference as Swampscott managed to score in five of the seven innings. The Big Blue received contributions from just about every hitter that faced Danvers hurler Devin Johnson.
"The hitting was great for us," Kowalski added. "We talk a lot about how it doesn't matter who (gets the) hits, but when everyone hits it really make us a better team. The bottom of the order really came through."
Swampscott's cleanup hitter, Tessa Beane, drove in a run in the first on a sacrifice fly to give the Big Blue an early lead. Kelly Birchmore and Tori Thistle both scored in the third for a 3-0 lead.
Johnson, one of two sophomore pitchers, was steady on the hill for the Falcons (1-1). She pitched the full seven innings while striking out four, walking four and allowing 12 hits in her mound debut.
"I thought Devin pitched very well for us," said Danvers head coach Tara Petrocelli. "I thought her ball moved well, and Swampscott just got timely hits. Devin had to throw more pitches than she needed to because we made some mistakes behind her."
The Falcons tied things up in the bottom of the third when first baseman Devyn Downs singled in a run to make it 3-3, but Swampscott countered with a run to start the fourth to regain the lead. First baseman Bridget Geno added a shot to right field for a double in the fifth, driving in two more runs.
Left fielder Samantha Rizzo went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs for the Big Blue, while Merry Ball singled in her team's final run in the seventh.
"I don't think defensively this was our best showing," Petrocelli said. "We left a lot of outs on the field. And Swampscott was able to hit the ball very well; in all seven innings we probably gave them more than three outs and because of that, it cost us."
In the bottom of the sixth Swampscott's ace, Angela Vousboukis, struck out all three batters she faced that inning and allowed her team to keep a three-run lead. The sophomore right-hander went all seven innings, yielding five hits and three earned runs and struck out six batters.
"Angela really fed off the confidence," Kowalski said. "Whenever she's doing well and has the confidence, she pitches better.
"Playing Danvers early on in the season is always a challenge. The biggest thing about a win is following it up with another and not getting complacent."