Girls Softball Slips Past DA, Beats Brooks

This week was one of great challenges and great successes for Big Blue’s softball team. Facing off against a tough Deerfield squad on Saturday and then local rivals Brooks on Tuesday afternoon proposed a difficult week for the team. However, aggressive attitudes and stellar performances earned the girls two well-deserved victories. The match between Deerfield and PA was, to say the least, intense. The game remained scoreless until the top of the sixth inning, two outs. Andover somehow managed to squeak some needed runs over the plate. Melissa Tetrault ’06 started the rally with a line to single. Then Dorothy Voorhees ’04 reached on a difficult pop up. Kelly Lannan ’03 then teamed up with Devon Dickerson ’04 to drive Tetrault and Voorhees in. These two runs would prove crucial, as they were the only two the Big Blue was able to squeak by the strong Deerfield defense. However, the real story on Saturday was Danielle Collins ’04. Collins retired the first 15 batters that stepped into the batters box. Although Collins retired nine of the 15 batters herself, Lannan played exceptionally at shortstop. By fielding a few tough hits and making strong throws, Lannan was able to keep Collins’ perfect game alive up to the sixth inning. Unfortunately, Collins’ perfect game (and her no hitter) were spoiled by the bottom of seventh by a combination of bobbled ground balls and solid Deerfield hits. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Blue found themselves with one out and Deerfield runners on second and third. Thankfully, an amazing double play involving Collins, Taryn Zucker ’03 and Voorhees stopped Deerfield in their tracks and enabled the Blue to pull away with a 2-1 victory over the Big Green. Coach Peter Drench remarks on the game that “Danielle was masterful in retiring the first 17 Deerfield batters she faced, and maintained her poise after her bid for a perfect game, and then a no-hitter went by the boards. When Deerfield rallied in the bottom of the seventh, she started a brilliant double play that was completed by Zucker and Voorhees. In looking back on this memorable performance, I’m as proud of her competitor’s makeup as I am of her skills.” Brooks was another nail biter. Collins on the mound again after one a few days break, was in desperate need of her defense. Although she threw her fourth shutout of the season, striking out six, defense and aggressive hitting was the key in this defeat. Tetrault and Dickerson teamed up for seven put-outs, leading the team defensively throughout the game. Offensively, Andover was unable to score until the fifth inning. However, with bases loaded in the fifth, Tetrault drove in Zucker, who reached base on a perfectly placed slap bunt, for the first, much needed, run which broke the ice. After scoring one more in the fifth, they were able to pull out two more insurance runs, one of which was a solo home run by Voorhees in the top of the seventh. The Big Blue was able to leave North Andover with a 4-0 victory on Tuesday. “The team really pulled together against Brooks,” remarked Captain Ashley May ’03. “Everyone stepped up where they were needed and everyone played up to their ability. Beating Brooks was a big win for us. It gives us local bragging rights as well as gives us a mental edge as we head into our Big East Prep Tournament this weekend, which we are co-hosting with Brooks. It was great to see the girls really pull together and play like a team.”