Dominating Pitching by Maloney Leads Andover to Victory in Scrimmage

On a clammy Tuesday afternoon, Co-Captain Kayla Maloney ’13 dominated the mound by pitching six strong innings to lead Andover to a 4-2 victory over North Reading High School in a scrimmage. Maloney also picked off two runners in scoring position with the assistance of Co-Captain Abby Chung ’13, preventing a North Reading rally late in the game. “Kayla pitched really well, especially considering how cold it was and wet the ball was. She struck out key batters when we really needed to get out of a jam,” said Chung. Nikki Pelletier ’13 also played a fundamental role in Andover’s win, throwing out two base runners who attempted to steal and communicating clearly with Maloney to limit North Reading’s hits. “A pitcher’s success often has a lot to do with her relationship with her catcher, and this is something I believe Nikki and I have created. Nikki knows what pitches I like to throw and when I like to throw them, and we always talk about what combinations are working best before every game. Over time, we have developed into a great duo,” said Maloney. Rebecca Federman ’14 opened the season on a positive note, singling to center-field in her first at-bat to spark a rally. Federman would later single again to finish the day with two hits. “I was in the hole [during my second at bat] and I had two strikes on me, so I was just trying to shorten my swing, make contact and put the ball in play. I was fortunate enough to get a fastball, and I was able to lace it into the outfield,” said Federman. After Maloney pitched the first six innings, Ravenne Nasser ’15 closed out the game, striking out two people to cap Andover’s victory. The North Reading game served to improve the team’s spirit, as it was the first time the team played in the past two weeks due to weather and safety precautions. “Softball is a game of so many situations and varied skills that the only way to improve, individually and as a team, is to play. Under these difficult circumstances, the team has responded very well, led by our Seniors,” said Head Coach Peter Drench. The scrimmage was played under modified game rules. Andover and North Reading were allowed to make free substitutions and have all players in the batting lineup. Because North Reading is not part of the NEPSAC league, the game did not count toward Andover’s overall record, which remains 1-0. Looking forward, Andover’s practices will emphasize coordination, communication in defense and aggressive plays in offense. Andover’s offense will work on its small ball game and on advancing runners on base through hit-and-run and bunt-and-run plays. Andover’s pitchers will focus on commanding their array of pitches and maintaining a rhythm that will allow them to work deep into games as the season moves on. Andover will look to build on its winning record when it faces Cushing and Tabor at home on Saturday.