BEVERLY — It’s one thing to make the right plays, but it’s another thing to make the right plays at the right time.
The Danvers softball team has the ability to do both and make it look effortless. The Falcons’ attention to detail, knack for fundamentals, aggressive base-running and exceptional hitting is second to none in the Northeastern Conference.
Behind their 14-hit performance, the Falcons shut down Beverly, 11-4, to become the first team in the NEC to qualify for the tournament just 13 games into their schedule.
“It’s good that it’s out of the way, it was definitely one of our goals,” said Danvers coach Tara Petrocelli, whose team earned its 13th consecutive postseason berth. “We still have a lot of work in front of us, though.”
Danvers (10-3) saw tremendous offensive production up and down the batting order, including multi-hit performances from four different players.
Lead-off hitter Tori Costa notched a single during her three at bats, as did third baseman Hannah Llewellyn. Catcher Caitlin McBride reached base all four times, including a pair of singles.
Senior captain Kendall Meehan, who bats in the cleanup spot, recorded a game-high five RBI, which included a two-run triple in the second inning and reached base all five times she was up at the plate.
Madison Mucci, Marisa Manson and Anna O’Neill all drove in runs, while first baseman Devyn Downs hit a two-run double in the fourth inning to put the Falcons up 9-1.
“I thought we got to the field and started quick and that helped,” Petrocelli said. “We know that we’re a team through and through. It’s important that our starters play well so that everyone has a chance to play.”
Freshman Daria Papamechail came in for Meehan (four hits, two strikeouts) in the seventh inning. Papamechail saw seven different batters, walked one and struck out one for the last out of the game with the bases loaded.