NORTH READING — Hornet bats pounded Newburyport pitching for seven runs, scoring in five different innings to win their first game of the season, 7–4, at the Little School field.
North Reading led all the way in this one, jumping out to a 1–0 lead after the first inning and going on to lead 5–0 after the fourth. Starting pitcher Kendra Butner pitched a gritty game, cruising at times and pitching her way out of a jam at others. Newburyport made it interesting by pushing four runs across the plate in the top of the fifth, making it a one run game, 5–4, with North Reading in the lead.
Sophomore Julia Perrone came on to pitch the sixth and seventh innings for North Reading, blanking the Clippers to even the girls’ record at 1–1 before the hometown crowd.
North Reading wasted no time in scoring in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter Carly Swartz walked, stole second and advanced to third on Kelsey DeMild’s grounder to first. Swartz scored on Julia Perrone’s double and the Hornets were in front to stay.
The Hornets scored again in the second when Tara Driver walked and advanced to third on a ground ruled double by Taylor Connor. Driver scored North Reading’s second run on a wild pitch and the Hornets led, 2–0.
North Reading went up, 4–0 with two more runs in the third inning when DeMild doubled and Butner helped her own cause with a single to bring DeMild home. Later in the inning, Sophia Warren’s sacrifice fly scored Abby Paine from third and to end the inning. The Hornets padded their apparently comfortable lead in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 5–0.
Newburyport clawed their way back into the game in the bottom of the fifth to make things interesting by scoring four runs on a combination of some legitimate doubles but also a few lucky infield hits. With the Hornets holding on to a 5–4 lead, the defense rose to the occasion, trapping the runner at second base in a rundown to apply the third out.
North Reading failed to score in the bottom of the fifth. Perrone came on to pitch in the top of the sixth and gave up a leadoff double and an infield hit but then went on to strike out the side.
The Hornets tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, taking the wind out of the Clippers’ sales on a walk by Bryanne Riley and a perfect sacrifice bunt by Swartz that sent Riley to second. A couple of walks later, the bases were loaded for sophomore Cassidy Gaeta, who launched a two run double to put the game out of reach. Newburyport went 1–2–3 in the seventh and the Hornets had their first win of the season and their first victory under Coach Michelle Morales.
Scrimmage on Saturday
On Saturday, the girls took on Phillips Academy in a scrimmage played in Andover. The girls lost, 6–4, but the game doesn’t count in the standings.