By Nick Curcuru
---- — GLOUCESTER — It was just what one would expect from a young and inexperienced team on opening day.
With a roster loaded with underclassmen, the Gloucester softball team certainly did a lot of good things against Winthrop on Wednesday. But at certain points in the game the team’s inexperience showed in the form of a few mental mistakes and untimely errors. Add that to the fact that Gloucester was facing a very tough pitcher in Maura Lanza on an experienced Winthrop squad and the result was a 9-6 Vikings win at Burnham’s Field.
“There were definitely a lot of positives but our inexperience showed,” Gloucester head coach John Nicastro said. “We had a few mental mistakes and we were facing a tough team with good pitching and defense. We just need to play with confidence.”
On the plus side Gloucester (0-1) got some nice production out of the top of its batting order as Tess Benson, Katie Munroe, Olivia Legendre and Sophie Black combined for six of the team’s seven hits and scored four of the team’s six runs.
“The top of our order looked strong,” Nicastro said. “And they got stronger with each at bat, it was nice to see.”
Gloucester also finished strong. Trailing 9-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning the team strung together three hits and were able to plate four runs, putting themselves back in the game. Freshman Kiley Allen (single) and Sabrina Maciel (walk) came in to score the first two runs of the frame on a fielding error. Black drove in the next two runs on a single to left to make it 9-6 but it was too late as Lanza was able to get out of the inning to preserve the Winthrop win.
After two scoreless innings Winthrop got on the board first with a pair of runs in the top of the third inning. Jenny Adamson led off the inning with a walk and then beat a throw to second base on a ground ball in the infield to put two on with nobody out. After a sacrifice bunt Christine Haskell drove in both base runners with a double to make it 2-0 Vikings.
Gloucester, would cut that lead in half in the bottom of the third frame. Benson and Munroe started off the inning with back-to-back singles but a great defensive play from Winthrop centerfielder Liana Ferullo, who threw out Benson going from first to third with a perfect throw from centerfield.
Gloucester aggressive base-running, however, would end up producing a run in the inning. With Munroe on first Legendre followed with a bloop single to right field that saw Gloucester’s senior captain come all the way around to score on the play to make it 2-1 Winthrop.
Lanza would settle down from there retiring 10 of the next 12 hitters before the seventh inning.
Winthrop took control in the fifth with four runs on four hits while taking advantage of a few Gloucester miscues. Lanza and Olivia Grillo delivered RBI singles while two more runs came in to score on Gloucester errors to move the Vikings lead to 6-1. They would add three more runs over the final two innings, three runs that ended up being the difference in the game.
Adamson led the Vikings offense with three hits, Lanza and Haskell chipped in two each. Legendre led the Gloucester offense with a pair of hits while reaching base four times, Munroe also had a pair of hits while Black had two RBI.
“Winthrop is a good team and they played well,” Nicastro said. “They showed they can hit the ball and they played good defense to go with it. We had some strong performances and we also know the things we need to work on. It was the first game for an inexperienced team and we will work on cutting down those mental mistakes.”
agateHed:Winthrop 9 Gloucester 6
agateText:At Burnham’s Field, Gloucester
agateText:W: LaSala ss 5-0-1, Thomas 3B 4-0-0, Ferullo cf 3-3-1, Adamson lf 4-2-3, Lanza p 5-2-2, Swanson c 3-1-1, Haskell rf 4-0-2, Pelletiere 1B 3-0-0, Grillo 2B 4-1-2. Totals 32-9-12.
G: Benson c 4-0-1, Munroe ss 3-2-2, Legendre cf 4-2-2, Black lf 4-0-1, Foley 1B 4-0-0, L. Allen DH 3-0-0, K. Allen 2B 3-1-1, Francis rf 3-0-0, Maciel 3b 2-1-0. Totals 30-6-7.
agate_MLB_linescore9:Winthrop 002 041 2| 9
Gloucester 001 001 4| 6
agateText:RBI: W, Adamson 2, Lanza 2, Haskell 2, Grillo; G, K. Black 2, Legendre, Foley.
WP: Lanza; LP: Keenan