By BOB TUROSZ
NORTH READING — The NRHS Girls varsity softball team opened their season somewhat belatedly on Monday, with a 2–0 loss on to the Malden Golden Tornadoes on a sunny and warm spring afternoon at the Little School.
The several dozen fans in attendance saw an old fashioned pitching duel between the two teams as Hornet senior Kendra Butner matched Malden hurler Alexis Brown pitch for pitch through five scoreless innings.
In the top of the sixth, with Hornet sophomore Julia Perrone pitching, Malden succeeded in pushing a couple of runs across the plate thanks to a lucky bloop infield hit with bases loaded followed by a long sacrifice fly to right field that plated another run.
North Reading made things interesting in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings but couldn’t crack Malden pitching. (Malden also brought in a fresh pitcher in the bottom of the sixth). The game ended with Taylor Connor being called out on a very close play at first base, stranding Cassidy Gaeta on third base, who had led off the inning with a double.
The Hornets’ best chance to score probably came in the bottom of the sixth, when junior Carly Swartz doubled to lead off and advanced to third base on a ground out. Following a walk and a stolen base, the Hornets had runners on second and third but failed to score.
The game marked the debut of Hornet head softball coach Michelle Morales. This year’s team is a good mixture of experience and underclassmen. The eight seniors are Butner, Kellie Sovak, Monica Ferrazzani, Bryanne Riley, Sophia Warren, Jillian Trischitta, Amanda Catania, and Kelsey DeMild.
There are four juniors, including Swartz, Lily Malloy, Connor and Sarah Sabella. The sophomores are Gaeta, Perrone and Nicole Shedd and the team has four freshmen: Margaret McCarthy, Tara Driver, Abigail Paine and Guiliana Peppe.
The girls will go at it again on Thursday, April 16, when they take on the Newburyport Clippers, again at the Little School field at 3:45 p.m.