Hollebeke ’08 Pitches No-Hitter in Scrimmage vs. UNH Wildcats; Andover Softball Uses Whole Roster in First Win of the Season

Michelle Hollebeke ’08 came out firing this Saturday, pitching her first game of the season in Andover’s 4-2 win against the UNH Wildcats. Hollebeke pitched a no-hitter, striking out nine and walking only three. Veda Eswarappa ’08 and Sarah Boylan ’09 relieved Hollebeke, pitching two innings each and securing the early win. The low-pressure scrimmage was great for Andover because it gave them a good practice game without unnecessary stress. PA lost several valuable players from the team last season, including third baseman Captain Melissa Tetreau, pitcher Claire Fox, second baseman Jamie Love, and first baseman catcher Ari Wilkinson. Despite the loss of excellent softball players in the graduating class of 2006, the team looks very promising this year. There is a great balance of experienced, returning players and several talented newcomers. The large team is made up of 18 players, but several girls will also play for the JV squad in order to gain valuable playing time and experience. Captain Stephanie Clegg ’08 commented, “I think the team has an immense amount of potential this year. We have three Seniors who all will have huge impacts on the squad. Lindsay Maroney has been a standout player for four years and she will continue her success at shortstop. Meghan Hartnett covers a vast area of left field and is also a power hitter in our batting order. Megan Shea, who played JV baseball for her first three years at Andover, has made the switch over to softball with ease and grace. Everyone is excited about Shea’s transition to softball and we’re really glad she made the decision.” Clegg continued, “We also have quite a few Uppers who will be expected to fill the shoes of the 2006 Seniors. We have a solid infield comprised of extremely talented and experienced players. I think we gained some confidence after beating UNH and really came together as a team.” In Saturday’s game, the starting infield included Emily Cokorinos ‘08 on first base, Megan Shea ‘07 covering second base, Lindsay Maroney ‘07 at shortstop and Boylan defending third base. While the group of infielders still works to form chemistry and cohesion, its performance on Saturday foreshadows success for the coming months. The outfield was comprised of Sara Ho ’08 in left field, Nicole Duddy ’08 at center and Meghan Hartnett ’07 in right. These seven players looked strong defensively and played a mentally and physically strong game. By prearrangement, the competition went nine innings so every player could have meaningful playing time at the start of the season. For Andover, Maddie McGreal ‘08, Riley Gardner ‘10 and Brianna McCarthy ‘09 covered the infield, while Kelci Thomasco ‘08, Lauren Shevlin ‘08, Alayna Garbarino ‘10 and Lauren Johnson ‘07 played the outfield positions in the later innings. Kaitlyn McInnis ‘09 went in behind the plate for Clegg. Offensively, Andover’s bats were quiet in the early innings, but as the game progressed, the team settled in and moved well through the batting order. This season, Andover will rely on a combination of bunting and power-hitting. Head Coach Peter Drench continues to experiment with the batting order in hopes of forming a formidable offense by the end of the season. Next Saturday, the team is scheduled to play Noble & Greenough School, Lowell School, and Colchester Academy at 1 p.m. on the home field.