By Nick Curcuru
---- — The Rockport softball team still has a steep uphill climb to qualify for the Division 3 North State Tournament. But with a dominant 9-3 win over Cape Ann rival Manchester Essex at home on Wednesday, the Vikings are still alive in their quest for the postseason.
At 5-9 Rockport must win out its final four games starting today against at Amesbury (3:45 p.m.) followed by games with Georgetown, Watertown and Ipswich to finish off the season.
“We have four more games left and we have to win out,” Rockport head coach Dianne Parisi said. “(Today’s) game with Amesbury is probably our toughest one but the kids have come a long way, I think we have what it takes to win these last four.”
The Vikings wasted no time taking control of the game on Wednesday plating six runs in the first two innings and never looked back. A four-run second inning that featured a two-run home run from Kayla Parisi and a two RBI triple from Meghan Tupper.
Manchester Essex (1-11) answered back to make it 6-2 on a two-run home run from Alex Stasiak but the Vikings extended their lead to 9-2 with three more runs in the fifth before the Hornets plated their final run in the seventh to make it 9-3.
Rockport had a huge day at the plate with home runs from Parisi, Mollie Watson and Ali Davis. Hannah Lorden went 4-for-4, Parisi had three hits while Tupper, Watson, Emily Faulds and Isobel MacCrate all had a pair of hits each.
“We roped the ball today,” Parisi said. “We didn’t just get hits, they were hard hit balls, a few of them over outfielders heads.”
Kelsi Field led the way for Manchester Essex with a pair of hits while head coach Steve Price credited the gutsy performance of pitcher Amanda Loebelenz, who was called up from the junior varsity team to pitch on Wednesday and she threw strikes and kept the game from getting out of hand.