Prosper ’06 Fuels Softball Resurgence, Team Takes Two of Three on the Week

The beginning of May brought both great weather for and solid games from the Andover Varsity Girls Softball team. With a double header on Saturday, the Lady Blue pounded out a 9-1 win against Stoneleigh-Burnham and continued its momentum by beating a previously undefeated Deerfield team 1-0. Even in spite of a 3-1 loss to Brooks on Monday, the softball team has demonstrated its potential to play at a higher level. Regardless of the large margin of victory for Andover, Stoneleigh-Burnham initially put up a good fight. The fourth inning began with the score tied 1-1. However, Andover took advantage of the struggling pitcher and hit five singles in the fourth to make the score 6-1. From there, the Big Blue never let up. PA stretched its lead in the bottom of the sixth inning on another rally, including a double from Lindsay Maroney ’07, to finish the game 9-1. After an exciting win in the first contest of the day, Andover prepped itself for a tough game against Deerfield. Due to injuries and other circumstances, pitcher Amy Prosper ’06 and catcher Megan Winn ’05 resumed their positions after only 20 minutes of rest. The challenging game proved to be an intense pitching duel. Deerfield’s number one pitcher allowed only one hit, striking out nine, and walking two, and Prosper giving up four singles, striking out four, and walking none. Deerfield’s downfall resulted from errors, and PA was quick to take advantage of the Big Green’s faults. In the bottom of the third inning, Merit Webster ’06 took first base on an error, and the Green committed yet another error on a grounder that gave PA the first and only run of the game. Prosper explained, “Although Deerfield was such a close game, it didn’t seem like it. Everyone was confident and relaxed. As a team we went onto the field and played our best; and we knew it, without thinking about how close the game actually was and who was winning. This game proved to us as a team how when we stay mentally focused, we really have a dominating presence on the field. It’s unfortunate that we’ve had such a hard time concentrating on the game because, as evident on Saturday when we beat a team with an 8-0 record, we are a very good team.” On Monday, the Softball team was not as successful. Roaring to life in the first inning with a double, single, and then another double, Brooks quickly earned a 2-0 lead. Frustrated as Andover was, the Big Blue did not let Brooks’ early lead thwart its enthusiasm. Although Andover had difficulty hitting Brooks’ pitcher (she pitched a three-hitter), PA played a solid game defensively and committed only one error. Pitcher Prosper quickly regained her composure after a disappointing first inning and gave up only two other hits, no walks, and striking out four batters throughout the rest of the game. From her position behind the plate, catcher Winn threw out two of three would-be base runners. “We just weren’t mentally ready to play,” said captain Dorothy Voorhees ’04. “Minus the beginning, we played a good game, but our trouble in the first inning put a damper on the rest of the game. It was frustrating to have the first three or four batters get on base and score a run without getting an out. Afterwards, we picked up a little on defense, but our offense never got going. We just weren’t hitting, and crucial hits are key for winning any softball game.” The problem with Andover’s losses, Voorhees explained, is that “we seem to play really well when we’re mentally into the game but when we’re not, we are visibly out of sync as a team.” Luckily, Andover will have four days of much needed rest to re-establish the team’s mental game before it hosts an eight-team Big East Tournament this weekend. Hopefully the Softball team will have the opportunity to prove the intensity of the team when every individual player is completely focused on the game.