HOLLIS — It would have been simple for Pelham to look on Hollis/Brookline as an easy contest as the Cavaliers had been outscored 26-1 in their first two contests.
But H-B didn’t look the part Wednesday. The Cavaliers gave the Pythons all they could handle before a final-inning rally fell just short, losing 6-5.
“The girls played hard today,” said first-year H-B coach Frank Lukovits. “I’m really proud of them. We had good hitting, good fielding and good pitching. The girls kept fighting and didn’t give up until the last batter. No doubt some victories are going to come our way.”
Pelham (2-1), coming off a 13-0 loss against Milford just 24 hours earlier, struggled to find a rhythm at the plate against freshman pitcher Ally Johnson, who allowed eight hits while striking out 11. Tied 3-3 after six innings, the Pythons’ offense came alive in the top of the seventh. Two singles and a hit batter loaded the bases with none out. Another Johnson plunking of Jessica Slaton put Pelham in front 4-3. That was followed by a two-run Lanna Pierce double, making it a three-run lead.
However, H-B (0-3) refused to go down. In the bottom of the frame, a lead-off triple by Sofia Barassi and an RBI groundout from Kara Lukovits had the Cavaliers in motion. Cassidy Pigott (three hits) doubled to right and later scored on Skylar Mack’s single. Another single, off the bat of Delayni Kovalchek, placed the tying and winning runs on base with one out.
But Pelham pitcher Julia Vawter bore down, retiring the next two batters to come away victorious. Vawter surrendered 11 hits and fanned four.
“It got a little tense there in the end,” Pythons coach Todd Lozeau said. “But we were able to pull it off. I would’ve like to see us swing the bats better but what can you do. Lanna’s hit was the biggest hit in the game for us. Their pitcher mixed things up well and made some good pitches.”
The Pythons struck for a run in the opening frame as Vawter, who singled, came around to score when Abbey Bevens’ comebacker resulted in a throwing error by Johnson. The Cavaliers shrugged the miscue off by scoring three times in the third to grab the lead. With two runners on, Pigott doubled in one run. A few moments later, Mack drove in pair with a single up the middle.
In Pelham’s half of the fourth, a bloop single by Kate Fisher was followed by a long home run over the center-field fence from Skyy Ortega, knotting things at 3-apiece.
“I sort of knew it was gone once my bat hit the ball,” said Ortega, a sophomore. “I could tell it was a good hit because I hit it on the sweet spot. (Johnson) was throwing to the outside part of the plate a lot so I just moved closer to the plate and tried to adapt to what she was doing.”