By BOB TUROSZ
NORTH READING – The Hornet softball team’s bats erupted for over 20 runs in two days last week, pummeling opponents Manchester¬Essex and arch-rival Lynnfield in back to back victories Friday and Saturday.
Playing at the Little School field on Friday, North Reading vanquished the “other” Hornets from Man–Essex in a game that was halted, 12-0, after six innings under the Mercy Rule.
North Reading wasted no time in jumping on the Man–Essex pitcher, scoring twice in the first inning. Lead off hitter Carly Swartz singled to right and took third base on a single by Cassidy Gaeta. Starting pitcher Kendra Butner then helped her own cause by smashing a double that scored Swartz and Gaeta.
The hits kept coming for North Reading in the bottom of the second as they scored four more runs to make it 6-0 on back to back doubles by Taylor Connor and Kelsey DeMild, and RBI by Sarah Sabella and Gaeta, Butner and Julia Perrone.
The Hornet went in order in the third and fourth innings and Julia Perrone took over the pitching duties in the top of the fifth inning. In the bottom of that frame, the girls erupted for three more runs. Butner led off with a home run and Perrone followed with a long single that was hit so hard it stopped her from stretching it to a double. That didn’t matter, though, because Tara Driver then hit a two-run blast over the center field fence, giving the Green and Gold three more runs.
Manchester-Essex came closest to scoring in the top of the sixth inning when a couple of singles put runners on first and second with two out but Perrone shut the door by striking out the fifth batter of the inning.
Man-Essex brought in a new pitcher in the bottom of the sixth, who proved ineffective and wild as the Hornets tacked on three more runs, prompting the umpires to make the right decision by stopping the game with bases loaded and no one out and North Reading on the verge of scoring again.
Seventeen of North Reading’s 34 trips to the plate were quality at bats by Butner, Warren, DeMild, Jill trischitta, Swartz, Connor, Lily Malloy, Sabella, Perrone, Nicole Shedd and Tara Driver.
North Reading 10, Lynnfield 5
The Hornets fell behind the Pioneers, 2-0 after the first inning in a Saturday morning game played in Lynnfield but that was the last time North Reading trailed in this one.
The Hornets put up three runs in the third inning to take a 3-2 lead after three frames. But the girls put the game away in the top of the fifth, scoring six runs and added an insurance tally in the seventh to win going away, 10-5.
Kendra Butner pitched all seven innings for the Hornets, throwing 117 pitches, 77 for strikes. Butner got first pitch strike calls on 20 of the 32 batters she faced. She also whacked a run-scoring double.
Other Hornets with RBI were Carly Swartz, Cassidy Gaeta, Julia Perrone and Tara Driver. Swartz also stole two bases. Butner, Sophie Warren, Kelsey DeMild, Bryanne Riley, Swartz, Taylor Connor, Gaeta, Perrone and Driver all had quality at bats. North Reading made two errors.
With the win, the girls improved their record to 8-3, good for second place in the Cape Ann League’s Kinney Division. The loss dropped Lynnfield to 10-4, fourth in the league’s Baker Division.
North Reading next travels to Newburyport to play the Clippers on Wednesday, after the Transcript’s deadline and the girls then play today, Thursday, at home against Triton.