Saints keep on rolling, top Vik­ings

Dorchester Star - - Sports - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

CAM­BRIDGE — Two down, one to go. A chal­leng­ing week for the Saints is go­ing pretty darn well.

Fac­ing Eas­ton, Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester — and with un­beaten Mardela still to come — St. Michaels High’s soft­ball team opened the week with a blowout win over the War­riors on Mon­day, then de­liv­ered a solid 4-1 vic­tory over the Vik­ings on Tues­day.

Against Cam­bridge-SD, St. Michaels sopho­more pitcher McKenna Brown­ing (6-0) scat­tered four hits and two walks to lead the Saints to their ninth straight vic­tory.

The Saints im­proved to 9-0 over­all, 2-0 North Bay­side, while the Vik­ings slipped to 9-3, 4-1. St. Michaels also de­feated Cam­bridge-SD, 7-6 in eight in­nings April 1, but only yes­ter­day’s game counted in the divi­sion stand­ings.

The Saints are sched­ule to visit South Bay­side power Mardela on Thurs­day.

On a warm, sunny Tues­day af­ter­noon at Christ Rock Park, Cam­bridge held a 1-0 lead through four in­nings be­fore the Saints strung to­gether five hits off Vik­ings pitcher Paige Bleyer (8-3) in the top of the fifth to score all their runs.

“That was the kind of game I ex­pected out of Cam­bridge, that they were go­ing to fight and we were go­ing to have a game on our hands,” Saints head coach Dave Fisher said. “I was a lit­tle wor­ried com­ing out of yes­ter­day, be­cause you play like that you take things for granted. We were a lit­tle bit [flat] de­fen­sively early with that one un­earned run.”

Bleyer al­lowed only two run­ners in the first four in­nings and in­duced a fly out to start the fifth. But Brown­ing got the Saints rolling with a lined-sin­gle to left and took sec­ond on an out­field er­ror. Ash­ton Lan­ders then lined an RBI-sin­gle to right to tie the game at 1-1.

“Nor­mally, when the bot­tom of the or­der starts hit­ting they as­cend in the lineup, but they’re hit­ting like that where they are,” Fisher said. “It’s nice to get that far in the lineup and know you can get just as much out of them as you can out of the top of your or­der.”

A fly ball off the bat of Emily Ea­ton, ninth in the bat­ting or­der, found the gap in left-cen­ter field for a dou­ble to place two run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion. Sam Romberger then lined a dou­ble to left to knock in Lan­ders and Ea­ton for a 3-1 lead.

“It was like an out­side pitch. It was kind of like belt high, out­side. It was a nice pitch; I just kept my head on it the whole time,” Romberger said.

Layla Berry fol­lowed with a dou­ble down the right­field line to plate Romberger for what turned out to be the game’s fi­nal run.

Brown­ing walked Emily Keener and Karli Lewis in the bot­tom of the fifth, and both ad­vanced on a passed ball with two outs. But Berry, play­ing sec­ond base in the right spot, was able to stab a hard one-hop­per from Bleyer and threw to first to end the in­ning.

“That’s the thing we’re fo­cus­ing on, mak­ing the key outs, mak­ing the rou­tine plays that we should make,” Fisher said. “You can’t make mis­takes on rou­tine plays and play good teams like this and win. You have to play good de­fense and hit the ball, and it took us a lit­tle while but the bats came along.”

Brown­ing al­lowed only one hit, a sin­gle to right by Alyssa Swann, in the fi­nal two frames. She fin­ished with nine strike­outs, which in­cluded fan­ning the side in the sec­ond in­ning.

Cam­bridge-SD cap­i­tal­ized on St. Michaels’ only er­ror to score its lone run with two outs in the first. Bleyer reached sec­ond base on the er­ror and scored on Jamyra Ch­ester’s dou­ble to deep left-cen­ter field.

Ex­cept for the fifth in­ning, the Saints’ only of­fense came in the sec­ond. An­gel­ica Sichette dropped a soft-liner into right field and took sec­ond on a sac­ri­fice bunt by Chase Brown­ing. With two outs, McKenna Brown­ing reached on an in­field hit that moved Sichette to third. Both run­ners were stranded when a missed sign for a fake bunt, ac­cord­ing to Fisher, led to a bunt that rolled right to Bleyer who threw to first for the third out.

Bleyer al­lowed six hits and four earned runs. She struck out seven and did not walk a bat­ter.

Vik­ings head coach Ka­reem Otey said the dif­fer­ence in the game was “hit­ting, def­i­nitely hit­ting.”

“I think they strung five hits to­gether in a row,” she added. “If we were mak­ing con­tact, we were hit­ting it to some­body. They just played a good game. De­fen­sively, we did well. You can’t re­ally field the ones that are hit in the holes.”

Eas­ton 13 N. Dorch­ester 6

EAS­TON — Anna Slaugh­en­houpt went 5 for 5 with a homer, dou­ble, three RBIs and three runs scored to lead the War­riors.

Pey­ton Elzey (2-0) al­lowed six runs — one earned — four hits, no walks and struck out four over five in­nings to earn the win. Joy Ko­lakowski pitched two in­nings of score­less, one-hit re­lief, strik­ing out four and walk­ing none.

Elzey blasted a two-run homer, the first of her high school ca­reer. Lexi Ket­ter­ing sin­gled, dou­bled and drove in three runs for Eas­ton. Cameron Fos­ter sin­gled, dou­bled and scored three runs, Kas­sidy Wil­lis sin­gled and scored three times, Kate Miles had a pair of sin­gles and two RBIs, Jada Mur­ray sin­gled twice, and Tori Weems hit an RBI sin­gle.

N. Caro­line 12 Kent County 2

RIDGELY — Win­ning pitcher Brea Bishop struck out eight and helped her­self with three hits to lead the Bull­dogs.

Macken­zie Short, Clara Thorn­ton and Abby Trice each dou­bled for North Caro­line. Me­gan Rob­bins had two hits, in­clud­ing a triple, and Sarah Mast tripled. Ali Ward, Emily Ward and Aubree Strange each added a sin­gle for the Bull­dogs.

Down 2-1, North Caro­line scored four runs in the bot­tom of the fourth.

Colonel 19 Queen Anne’s 3

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Madi­son Bee had four hits, in­clud­ing a home run and five RBIs, to lead the Colonels.

Gabby Galante earned the win, al­low­ing four hits, three walks and strik­ing out three over five in­nings. Jazmine Brooks and Jayna Turner each had three hits, and Galante, Mor­gan Wil­loughby and Jen Lar­ri­more had two hits apiece.

Leah Bradley, who took the loss, had two hits for the Lions.

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester right-han­der Paige Bleyer de­liv­ers a pitch­ing Tues­day af­ter­noon against St. Michaels.

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