RhS sports Roundup
RHS softball team wins tourney opener, edged in next round
The Revere High softball team won its opening contest in the Division 1 North Sectional of the MIAA state softball tournament, defeating Beverly 3-1, but then dropped a heartbreaker to Methuen, 7-6, in the next round.
The Lady Patriots entered the tourney as the 13th seed among the 23 teams in the D-1 North with a 13-7 record and drew Northeastern Conference rival Beverly, the 20th seed with an 11-9 mark, in the preliminary round.
The contest, which was played at the St. Mary’s Field Friday afternoon, was a pitcher’s duel all the way. The Lady Patriots grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third, only to have Beverly bring matters back to level thanks to a home run in the top of the fourth.
However, that would prove to be the only run allowed by RHS pitcher Olivia McManus, who otherwise was in command throughout the contest and was backed by a superb defensive effort by her teammates.
The Lady Patriots scored two runs in the fifth that would stand the rest of the way for the 3-1 finale.
The Revere offense principally was provided by Danielle Dion, who had two hits, and McManus. Adriana Keefe laid down a perfect bunt that brought in a Revere run and fleet Lindsay Anderson once again sparked the Lady Patriots and proved a thorn in the side of her opponents with her base-running.
The Revere defense was flawless throughout, with the play of the game occurring in the top of the seventh when RHS right fielder Joli Giuliano threw out the lead-off Beverly hitter with a strike to first base on what appeared to be a certain lead-off base hit for the Lady Panthers.
Joli charged the line drive that went in the gap between first and second, scooped it up on one bounce, and gunned a throw to first to get the runner by a step.
“Joli made an amazing play,” said RHS head coach Joe Cicarello. “If Beverly had been able to get their lead-off hitter on base, it would have put a lot of pressure on us. But taking away what appeared to be a sure base hit deflated them and gave us the confidence and momentum to close out the game.”
Ciccarello awarded the game ball to McManus for her superb pitching effort in which she allowed only five hits and the one earned run while fanning six enemy hitters.
“Olivia really deserved this one,” said Ciccarello of his junior pitching ace. “She had a tough game last year in the tourney, but she learned from that experience and was able to take this one to the final out.”
The victory earned Revere the right to travel to fourth-seeded Methuen (17-3 on the regular season) for a first round encounter on Sunday evening.
The Lady Patriots seized the initiative in the opening inning, with Alexis Iacoviello doubling and coming home on a base hit by McManus. Dion, who has been tearing the cover off the ball in the latter part of the season, doubled home two more runs for a 3-0 Revere lead.
Methuen struck back with four runs in the second frame and added another in the fourth to grab a 5-3 advantage, but the Lady Patriots battled back to knot matters at 5-5 when Dion came through with her second, two-RBI, two-bagger of the game in the fifth.
Methuen retook the lead with an unearned run in the sixth, but Revere rallied in the top of the seventh to tie matters at 6-6. After Eve Lescovitz singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Iacoviello, McManus stepped to the plate with two outs and came through with a clutch base hit to bring in Lescovitz with the tying tally.
However, fate would not be on the side of the Lady Patriots on this late-spring evening. The first two Methuen hitters in the top of the seventh, the #3 and #4 batters in their lineup, stroked back-to-back doubles for the walk-off victory.
“It was a tough loss, but I was proud of the way we battled back throughout the game, which was indicative of the way this team played the entire season,” said Ciccarello, whose starting lineup featured four freshmen. “We’re losing some great seniors (Victoria Correia, Melana Polan, and Madison and McKenzie Cunningham), but we have a solid nucleus of returning players and we’ll be looking ahead to a bright future.”