Softball Stumbles over Cushing, Exeter, Rebounds to Wreck Big Red in Rematch

After a promising beginning, the Girls Varsity Softball team has taken a turn for the worse, dropping both of Saturday’s contests with Cushing and Exeter. Suffering multiple setbacks, including the injuries of three starters, Captain Dorothy Voorhees ’04, Devon Dickerson ’04, and Megan Winn ’05, Andover was not able to match the competition. However, the Lady Blue did not let Saturday’s frustrations go to their heads as the team pounded its way to an 11-3 rematch win at Exeter on Wednesday. “Saturday was a tough day for us,” said Coach Peter Drench. “We ran into adversity, in the form of injuries, which opened some holes in our batting order and defense. Even with injuries, the return of Dorothy and Megan for Wednesday’s game definitely made a difference.” Hosting a three-team round robin, the frustrated Big Blue lost to Cushing 6-3 in its first game. In the final inning, the Blue held a tentative 3-2 lead. After a walk to the leadoff batter, Cushing rallied to score four runs. Andover failed to make smart plays and struggled to stay focused. “Having a lead in the last inning and blowing it away, it was then difficult to play another game right after. We should not have struggled so much against Exeter, but I think part of the reason was that once the Cushing game ended, our team lost all the momentum we had going in to the initial game,” said Merit Webster ’06. After a disappointing loss in the last inning against Cushing, Andover could not regain its previous enthusiasm. The girls stumbled out of the gate, falling quickly to a 6-1 deficit against Exeter. But despite the Red’s early lead, PA battled back and had the bases loaded with the winning run on first, only to end the game with a full-count strikeout. With the Big Blue rally coming up short, Exeter defeated Andover 7-5. Shortstop Melissa Tetreau ’06 went 3-6 with two stolen bases. Amy Prosper ’06, who pitched both games, also added a spectacular triple. As crushing as Saturday’s losses were, Wednesday’s rematch with Exeter was an entirely different story. The Blue drove to Exeter as a brand new team and easily overpowered the Red. Jumping out to a 6-0 lead after the second inning, Andover had clearly forgotten about Saturday’s game. Exeter scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on two solid triples, but Andover quickly shut down their hope of a comeback with four runs of its own in the seventh. “Overall, I think the girls played much more like a team on Wednesday,” commented Captain Voorhees, “We did not throw away the ball, there were not many errors made, and we hit the ball hard. The team rebounded well from Saturday and I think the future is looking positive for us.” Tetreau played an outstanding game once again, both on offense and defense. Andover’s shortstop went 2-3 at the plate, scored two runs, and caught two very difficult pop-ups in left-center field. Lindsay Maroney ’07 and Prosper also went 2-3, adding one and two RBIs, respectively. “We scored 11 runs and had 10 hits; five different players drove in runs. I know it is cliché to say this, but it really was a team effort,” Coach Drench acknowledged. “Minus that one inning, Amy threw amazingly well as she walked only one batter and gave up only four hits. All in all, the team played much smarter on the field, and hit the ball much harder.” Even the opposing team recognized the sudden change in Andover’s play. One Exeter coach commented, “After going 5-2, this game is a reality check for us.” Despite a discouraging weekend for the Lady Blue, the confidence built up from Wednesday’s overwhelming victory will hopefully carry on. With some luck, Andover will not have to sustain any more injuries, and the team will be able to have more consistency in its lineup. As captain Voorhees explained, “If we have nine healthy players on the field, we will have a very good team.”