ROCKPORT— The Rockport Varsity Softball team knew it was going to be tested in the second-half of the season. After losing to Newburyport on Monday, the Vikings had an even bigger test against an Amesbury team on Wednesday that entered the contest with an 11-1 record.
After a rocky start, Rockport escaped with a 7-3 victory over the Indians in drizzly conditions at Rockport High School. The victory marks the first time in school history that Rockport has defeated Amesbury in varsity softball play.
Amesbury tested the Vikings' resilience from the onset of the game. The visitors stormed out of the gates in the first to the tune of five straight hits. Before Rockport could blink an eye or get an out, they were already trailing 3-0.
Never having defeated Amesbury before, it would have been easy to quit and expect to lose the game. Dropping its previous game and already trailing in the first to a perennial Cape Ann League powerhouse would make most teams question Rockport's early season success. Not the Vikings, who improve to 10-2 with the win, as they refused to let a little bump in the road derail their focus.
Senior pitcher Kristin Turner settled down and record three straight outs to stop the bleeding at three-runs. Coach Dianne Parisi wasn't worried about the rocky start because she knew she had a confident bunch.
"The girls know how good they are" Parisi said. "When they came off the field after giving up those three runs they knew it was early and they understood what they needed to do to get the job done."
It only took the sweet-swinging Rockport one time at-bat to dig themselves out of the hole.
Amesbury quickly retired two of the first three Rockport hitters of the game, however, the resilient Vikings put on a clutch hitting display with two-outs to extend the inning. Sophomore catcher Mollie Watson singled and freshman third baseman Kayla Parisi followed with a walk to load the bases for Kendra Adams. The Vikings first baseman followed with an RBI-single to cut the lead to 3-1.
Turner then came up and delivered with biggest hit of the inning. Having given-up three runs in the half-inning prior, it would have been easy for Turner to dwell on a tough first-inning on the mound. Given a shot at redemption, Turner delivered with a clutch 2-RBI double to tie the score at 3-3 and cap the Vikings three-run, two-out, rally in the first.
After the first, runs were hard to come by for both teams. With Rockport clinging to a 4-3 advantage, the Vikings busted the game open in the home-half of the 6th.
Sophomore Hannah Lorden and senior Amanda Chalmers started the inning off with a pair of one-out singles. With runners on first and second, the stage was set for sophomore shortstop Gabby Muniz.
Muniz, the reigning Division 3 CAL Player of the Year, delivered like she's done all year by smashing a three-run bomb over the right-center field fence to give Rockport some breathing room and push the lead to 7-3.
After a rocky start, Turner settled down nicely the rest of the game. She only yielded five hits while holding the Indians scoreless over the final six innings.
More importantly, coach Parisi believes this victory shows her team how much ability they truly have.
"Here we are coming into the heart of the Cape Ann League" she said. "We actually have never beaten Amesbury before, so to go out and win this game shows the kids and the team just how good we really are. I tell them all the time that I believe in them, but for them to go out there and perform the way they did, it gives them that confidence that we can make some noise heading into the postseason."