Co-Captain Kayla Maloney ’13 proved untouchable this past Wednesday, throwing a no-hitter in Andover Softball’s 8-0 victory over Exeter.
Andover faced Cushing and Tabor in a double-header on Saturday and Concord-Carlisle on Monday, coming through with wins at all three games.
Against Exeter, Maloney threw 21 first pitch strikes and accumulated 12 strikeouts over seven innings.
Maloney’s bid for a perfect game was ended by an Andover fielding error.
Andover’s eight-run outburst in the fourth inning broke a 0-0 tie and cemented Andover’s victory.
Ravenne Nasser ’15 paved the way with a three-run home run game, and Caitlin Clancy ’13, Victoria Bergeron ’16 and Kasey Hartung ’14 followed with RBIs of their own.
Maloney also pitched a near no-hitter against Tabor on Saturday, striking out 15 of the 21 batters she faced and leading Andover to a 7-0 victory.
Tabor’s sole hit came in the top of the fourth inning when the team doubled to left field on a hard ground ball.
“Since Tabor has really aggressive batters, the most important thing for me during the game was claiming the inside part of the plate. Once I did that, it made all my other pitches more effective,” said Maloney.
Following Maloney’s lights-out pitching in the top half of the first inning against Tabor, Andover’s offense came out firing on all cylinders.
Nasser, Andover’s leadoff batter, drew a four-pitch walk. Moments later, Co-Captain Abby Chung ’13 reached first base on a fielder’s choice, forcing Nasser out at second base.
Maloney was then hit by a pitch in the chest and Nikki Pelletier ’13 walked, loading the bases with only one out.
With one ball and two strikes, Clancy drilled the ball to right field, driving Chung and Maloney home.
“Getting up at bat with bases loaded early in the game, when I knew we needed runs, was a little nerve-wracking, but I wasn’t scared,” said Clancy. “I knew I could hit the pitcher, and even though she got two strikes on me early, I trusted myself that I would be able to put one in play.”
Continuing her strong play, Clancy lead off the third inning with a double to left field.
Erica Shin ’16 then grounded out to the right side, sending Clancy over to third base. On the subsequent play, Bergeron laid down a bunt and put herself on base for the first time in the game. Clancy was injured on the play, and Mackenzie Bradford ’15 substituted for her.
With runners on the corner, Maloney slapped a base-hit between the shortstop and third baseman, driving in Bradford for the third run of the game.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Hartung led off with a walk and a stolen base and moved into scoring position with no outs.
Nasser then roped a fastball into center field for a base hit and drove Hartung home for Andover’s fourth run of the game.
Andover closed out its scoring with three runs in the sixth inning to beat Tabor, improving its record in league play to 2-0.
Earlier in the day, Nasser struck out 11 batters over seven innings to defeat Cushing 8-1.
“[Nasser] pitched beautifully the last three innings of her game today, mixing location, trajectory and speed to keep hitters off balance,” said Head Coach Peter Drench. “[Nasser] has good stuff, and she’s working to trust it, rather than muscle the ball toward the plate. [Nasser] is moving from focusing on the mechanics toward thinking more about how to get hitters out.”
Nasser’s efforts came on the heels of a four-run outburst by Andover in the bottom of the fourth inning.
With RBI singles from Chung and Maloney, the heart of Andover’s batting order rolled through Cushing. Pelletier added a two-run home run to complete the rally.
After two days of rest, Maloney returned dominant to the mound on Monday against Concord-Carlisle, striking out 13 batters to lead the team to a 2-0 win. Maloney’s no-hit bid was broken up in the seventh inning on a Concord-Carlisle single.
Andover’s only runs of the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning off back-to-back doubles from Bergeron and Pelletier.
Andover will look to maintain its undefeated season against Worcester on Saturday.