TOPSFIELD — It’s been noted many times in sports that in order to be the best, you have to play the best.
With the Cape Ann League Kinney championship title on the line, the Masconomet Regional softball team was able to overcome an early five-run deficit and scored twice in the final inning to defeat rival North Reading, 7-6.
“All of the seniors have worked so hard for this after playing together for most of our lives,” said Masconomet captain Julianna Kostas. “So it really means a lot that our final year together we can make something good happen.”
Tuesday’s victory over Saugus had already given the Chieftains (17-2) a share of the CAL crown, but yesterday’s win over the Hornets allowed them to take it outright. North Reading had a chance to earn a share, but the setback dropped them to second place in the standings.
“These girls have been fighting and fighting since the beginning of March — and they never give up,” said Masconomet head coach Mike Gibeley. “Especially against this team, who has been difficult for us for years.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them, especially with what was on the line and the pressure of the game.”
It’s the second time in three years that the Chieftains have captured the CAL title and Gibeley’s third season as head coach.
Masconomet trailed by a run (6-5) heading into the bottom of the seventh. Emily Dow hit a one-out single up the middle and Jordyn Murray doubled to center, sending Dow to third. Kylie Currier then singled in the tying run.
With two out, Sarah Webster drew a 1-1 count at the plate before Murray scored on a passed ball to end the game.
“Even when we were down, we didn’t freak out and stayed calm,” said senior captain Maddie Kelly. “We just needed to string together hits and scratched back little by little. We knew we couldn’t let them score anymore runs.”