, Salem, MA

April 17, 2014

Sunny Disposition: Danvers softball hits stride in time for Florida trip

By Gianna Addario
Staff Writer

---- — MARBLEHEAD — What a difference a day will make for the Danvers softball team.

Yesterday, the Falcons were playing in 35-degree weather. Today, they’re off to Orlando, Fla. for a seven-day trip — where they’ll play three games in four days.

Head coach Tara Petrocelli, however, made sure the girls focused on yesterday’s task at hand — Marblehead.

Danvers’ bats were quiet through the first few innings, but came alive in the final two stanzas to capture a 6-1 victory over the host Magicians.

“I thought we were a little too excited about the trip for the first five innings,” noted Petrocelli, whose team stayed perfect at 4-0. “We had to focus in.

“We made the adjustments we needed to in sixth inning. I don’t think we can wait that long all the time, though. You have to give credit to the Marblehead pitcher (Michaela Leblanc); she kept us off balance for a while.”

Marblehead’s (2-2) Olivia Vener gave her team its only lead in the fifth inning, breaking a scoreless tie. She singled up the middle, stole second and third before scoring on a passed ball.

Leblanc allowed only four hits over the first four innings and had an easy 1-2-3 inning in the fifth. She kept Danvers off the bases for the majority of the game until Falcons’ second baseman Hannah Llewellyn was able to punch through a single in the sixth. Kendall Meehan singled in Llewellyn to tie the game at 1-1.

From there, Maddie Mucci, Devyn Downs and Brittany Dougal followed with singles of their own to load bases. Marisa Phillips-Manson was hit by a pitch, allowing Mucci to score with the eventual game-winning run.

“For a while there we just kept popping the ball up to the center fielder,” noted Meehan. “We knew we had to keep ball down. We just kept drilling that into our heads.”

With two on in the seventh after back-to-back walks from Leblanc, catcher Caitlin McBride hit a two-run double to left for Danvers, putting her team up 4-1. Meehan followed with a ball to the same exact spot for another RBI single.

Mucci, who finished the day 3-for-4, notched a single before Phillips-Manson drove in the Falcons’ final run on an infield single.

“It was good up until the seventh inning ... then the wheels fell off,” said Marblehead coach Johnny Gold. “We made some mental errors and Danvers hit the ball pretty good.

“To me Danvers is the best team in the league, so I know what to expect. Tara’s a wonderful coach and her girls are always read to play. We get to play them another time, though.”

Meehan gave up five hits, walked two and struck out seven through seven innings.

Leblanc, Mckenna Barrett, Olivia Vener, Sara Bornstein and Ali Kapoli recorded hits for the Magicians.

Both teams didn’t have know if they would play when they woke up to snow on the ground yesterday morning. With a little help from the grounds crew throughout the day, though, Marblehead’s field was in perfect condition for the first pitch at 5 p.m.

“The town did a great job getting the field ready,” said Gold. “Todd Norman, who coaches with me, he owns a landscaping business — he’s always up here making sure things get done. This weather is ridiculous, but the field was in great shape.”