The Duxbury girls’ softball team is quietly building itself into a Patriot League powerhouse after completing a three-game sweep last week with wins over Hingham (21-9), Hanover (8-7) and Whitman-Hanson (4-2).
Junior pitcher Micaela Lannon was on the mound for all three wins, while classmate Caroline McSherry provided the thunder at the plate with a home run and nine RBI to go along with a .666 batting average during the winning streak. The Lady Dragons entered the week with convincing wins over Scituate (9-1) and North Quincy (12-0), so everything seemed to be in order as they took on three opponents with a day off in between.
Monday’s game with Hingham turned out to be the strangest game of the year, as the Lady Dragons jumped out quickly for a 3-0 lead in the first inning on timely hits by juniors Erin Gallagher, Christina Curley and McSherry.
Duxbury would crank it up again in the second inning with four more runs when they loaded the bases and McSherry followed with a grand slam home run that cleared the fence by 15 feet. The Lady Dragons added two more runs in the third to claim a commanding 9-1 lead.
Hingham never gave up, rallying for five runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth to climb back and tie the game at 9-9. The embarrassment of blowing an eight-run lead was not lost on Coach Rod Laniewski’s squad that proceeded to send 17 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning while scoring 12 runs to put the game away. McSherry, sophomore Caitlin Turok and senior co-captain Kristin McHugh each had three hits in the game.
Perennial nemesis Hanover came to town on Wednesday and the Lady Dragons were ready for what turned to be a drag-down, knock-out affair.
Duxbury jumped on top in the first inning scoring a trio of runs on successive hits by Curley, McSherry and Turok. Hanover would strike back with runs in the second and third innings, along with three more in the fifth to grab a 5-3 lead. The Lady Dragons would cut into that lead with another run in the fifth to make it a 5-4 deficit.
With the game on the line in the bottom of the seventh, Duxbury was down to its last out. With Gallagher on second, McSherry’s hot bat scorched a laser shot up the middle to knock in the tying run, sending the game into extra innings.
Both teams traded runs in the eighth inning, and the game remained tied at 6-6 going into the 11th inning.
Under Patriot League rules each team would start its inning with a runner on second base beginning in the 10th inning. The Indians scratched out a run in the top of the 11th to go up 7-6 and the heat was now on Duxbury.
In the bottom of the 11th, McHugh managed an infield hit that put runners on first and third. She reached second on a Hanover wild pitch, putting both base runners in scoring position. With one out sophomore Hannah Hutchinson came to the plate and delivered the biggest hit of her young varsity career, stroking a hit that found the gap and drove home both runners for the 8-7 victory.
Fresh off its big win over Hanover you might expect the team to suffer a letdown, and it appeared it might be happening when Whitman-Hanson scored a pair of runs in the first four innings, while holding the Duxbury bats silent.
Duxbury’s bats finally got going in the fifth on a single by McHugh, a walk to junior Alyssa Kates and hits by junior Alex Leaverton and Hutchinson that led to a pair of runs that tied the game at 2-2 and remained that way through seven innings, leading to another extra inning game.
After a rough start through the first three innings, Lannon regained the rhythm she had in previous games and held the Panthers scoreless through seven innings. In the top of the eighth Leaverton led off with a single and promptly stole second before reaching third on a wild pitch. McSherry’s infield hit would knock in the go-ahead run. Turok next smashed a line drive off the W/H pitcher’s leg that allowed her to reach first and send McSherry over to third. McSherry would score on another wild pitch for the winning run.
In the bottom of the eighth Lannon would not allow a ball out of the infield to seal the 4-2 victory.
After entertaining Middleboro on Monday, the Lady Dragons will take on Silver Lake at home on Wednesday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. in hopes of avoiding another loss to the Lakers, who pinned Duxbury with its only loss of the year back in April.