PA Bats Knock in 10 Runs

The Andover Softball team pounded Lawrence Academy at home last Wednesday, racking up 10 runs with a high-powered offense while riding the strong arm of Michelle Hollebeke ’08 as Andover cruised to a 10-1 victory. Last Saturday, Andover suffered a heartbreaking loss in the team’s season opener, squandering a brilliant one-hit performance by Hollebeke in extra innings. Andover struggled to gain any momentum at bat, with just two hits on the game coming from starting newcomers Sarah Onorato ’11 and Shannon McSweeney ’11. “Since we only had one outdoor practice before our first game, we didn’t really have a chance to get in any live pitching,” said starting shortstop Sarah Boylan ’09. “We have some great bats on our team and just needed to get some of the rust off.” On Wednesday, those bats came alive for Andover, and the team continued its terrific defense and pitching to overwhelm Lawrence Academy at the plate and in the field. “In our first game, I think nerves got to us a little bit and we were very anxious at the plate,” said Onorato, who had one of Andover’s two hits last week. “Today, we showed a lot more patience and discipline at bat, which made their pitcher work harder and got us looks at some better pitches.” The offense was an all-around team effort, with production up and down the lineup. Andover really broke out in the fourth inning, with the help of the Lawrence pitching staff. Boylan got the momentum rolling with a bases loaded walk, and the runs continued to pour in from there. Hollebeke continued her near perfect performance on the mound, completely dominating the Lawrence Academy offensive attack. Andover allowed just a single run for the second straight game. When Hollebeke’s knee began to hurt towards the end of the 6th inning, however, Veda Eswarappa ’08 took the mound with the bases loaded and the score at 5-1. Eswarappa escaped the jam and finished off the game for Andover to complete the clutch performance. On defense, Andover was once again very solid. Andover’s success in the field came even without starting second baseman Alayna Garbarino ’10. The highlight of the game, however, was made by Ramya Prathuri ’10 in a clutch situation. “In the bottom of the 6th inning, with 2 outs and the bases loaded, Ramya made a sensational catch in right field to end the inning,” said McSweeney. “It got the team pumped to get out there and score in our last at bat.” Andover did just that, coming up with five runs in the seventh for some added cushion room for the final 10-1 score. This past Saturday, Andover was scheduled to host a four-team jamboree with Noble & Greenough, Andover High School, and Lowell High School. Due to poor weather and field conditions, however, the games were cancelled. Next week, Andover has a busy schedule with three games, all at home. Weather permitting, the team hopes to continue its success against Nobles High School and Andover High School this weekend and then face off with Brooks on next Monday.