WILMINGTON — It was kind of a strange week for the Wilmington High School Varsity Softball team. The Wildcats finished 2-2, playing four games over the span, beating Lexington and Melrose, while falling to Arlington and Whittier Tech, the latter in a non-league game.
The split puts the team at 7-4 overall, and while the team needs two more wins to qualify for the state tournament, the Boston Herald has inserted the Wildcats into the paper’s rankings grabbing the No. 8 spot in Division 2 North.
The week of play started out with a tough 6-4 loss to Arlington in a Middlesex League cross-over game. The Wildcats came out strong scoring three runs in the first inning as Jenna Sweeney, Ashley Crawford and Ally Moran all reached base on two walks and a hitbatsman. Two batters later, Ryan Bailey delivered a RBI single. After a walk to Chase Andersen, Kayla Bourrell singled in both Crawford and Tori Gemellaro, who was the courtesy runner for Moran.
Wilmington’s bats were quiet for most of the final six innings, although in the sixth, Bella Kieran was called out at the plate on a controversial call, which negated a big scoring inning for the ‘Cats.
In the seventh, ‘the Cats added a run as Kayla Bourrell reached base on an error and then scored on yet another error
“We made some errors on routine pop ups today,” said head coach Audrey Cabral-Pini. “There was a lack of communication on some plays which resulted in the ball just dropping between the players.”
Besides some miscues in the field, the coach said both pitchers seemed to have a disadvantage in the game.
“The home plate umpire had a small strike zone today,” she said. “Both pitchers threw a lot of pitches especially in the first inning. Arlington was just more patient at the plate.”
Wilmington came back from that tough loss and doubled-up on Lexington with a 4-2 decision. The Wildcats scored two runs in the bottom of the third as Jenna Sweeney singled and came around on a RBI double by Ashley Crawford, who then came in on a RBI single by Moran.
In the fourth, Lexington was able to cut the deficit in half scoring a run.
The Wildcats scored single runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings. Kayla Bourrell singled and scored when her sister Kacie put down a bunt and reached on an error. Then in the following inning, Bella Kieran led off with a single, Ryan Bailey sacrificed her to second on a beautiful bunt. Three batters later, Kayla Bourrell singled to center to score Cassidy Ross, who pinch ran for Kieran to close out the team’s offense.
On the mound, Moran went the distance, struck out 11 and didn’t allow a walk. She was helped out by her catcher Crawford, who threw out two runners trying to steal second and Sweeney, who put a nice tag on a base runner who inadvertently turned the wrong way on an infield error.
"We made the plays that we needed to make," said Cabral-Pini. "We threw out two runners who tried to steal and our outfielders made very close plays on runners trying to advance. We played much better defensively in this game.”
After a heartbreaking 4-2 loss to another ranked team, Whittier Tech, on Mother’s Day morning, Wilmington again showed some grit, battling back from adversity and winning the following game, a 1-0 nailbiter over Melrose.
Wilmington scored the lone run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs and the bases empty, Moran singled and advanced to third on an errant throw. Kieran then singled up the middle to score Moran.
Moran went the distance on the mound and tossed a two-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts. Crawford again nailed two runners trying to score, and at the plate, Gianna Brunetto and Moran both finished with two hits.
"We did a better job today than we did vs Whittier,” said Cabral-Pini. “But we still have some work to do on our hitting".
Wilmington faced Burlington, one of the top teams in the state on Wednesday with results not known as of presstime. After that will be four additional games going to Tuesday, including Wakefield away on Thursday, Melrose at home on Saturday morning at 10:00 am, away at Gr. Lowell on Monday afternoon and then back home Tuesday night under the lights at 6:00 pm against Stoneham.