By Gianna Addario
---- — MARBLEHEAD — Senior Michaela Leblanc didn’t let the fact that yesterday was her fourth game pitching in five days this week stop her from throwing a two-hitter against Gloucester.
The Marblehead High softball hurler was in control of her pitches, threw in some changeups and managed five strikeouts to help the Magicians to 3-0 victory over the visiting Fishermen.
Leblanc, a returning Salem News all-star, gave up a pair of hits in the second inning but followed it up with 1-2-3 innings the rest of the way.
“It’s hard to pitch four games in a row, but I know I have a good team to back me up,” said Leblanc.” My arm feels great. The only thing that’s bothering me a little bit is my lower back, but I’ve been icing every night.”
The Magicians (2-2) put a halt to their two-game skid after dropping back-to-back games to Winthrop and Lynn Classical while also getting a chance to play on their own field for the first time this spring.
Marblehead took advantage of an opportunity in the bottom of the second, scoring two runs on a pair of Gloucester errors. Rachel McKay doubled and scored the game-winning run on an overthrown ball to first base before Ali Kapoli came home from first on another error to give the Magicians a 2-0 lead.
“We capitalized on those mistakes,” said Marblehead head coach Johnny Gold. “I give Gloucester a lot of credit, their pitcher (Karina Keeran) did a nice job throwing different things at us.”
Marblehead’s Emily Trasher pinch hit for third baseman Alexa Brown in the sixth inning and drew a walk. McKay then notched her second single of the game to advance Trasher to second. Kapoli then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Trasher.
Keeran allowed on six hits, one walk and struck out one for Gloucester, but the Magicians were able put a string of hits together when it mattered.
“Our downfall was that our two errors scored those two runs,” said first-year Gloucester coach Sue Good. “Two errors might not seem like a lot, but two in one inning against a team that can hit the ball is tough.
“We’re a very young team other than two seniors and two juniors. We weren’t that patient at the plate and kept swinging at the first pitch.”
One of two returning seniors for Gloucester, Liv Legedre, played superb defense in center field. Legedre made three excellent catches to rob Marblehead of hits, including a diving catch on Kapoli’s laser to shallow center.
Sara Bornstein and Emily Messinger each had two singles for Marblehead. McKay was the only other hitter to have multiple hits and the only Magician with a two-base hit.
“We’re a lot better hitting team than we’re hitting right now,” added Gold. “We’ll break out of it; we just have to keep working at it. Our defense is pretty good ... now, we just have to get our bats going.”
The Magicians have few days to rest up before they’re back in action Wednesday against Danvers.