PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Classical’s Johnna Calder slams a base hit into left field.
By STEVE KRAUSE
LYNN — Classical softball coach Erica Richard is never wholly comfortable seeing English on the other side of the field, no matter what the occasion is.
“They always give us a hard time,” said Richard.
That was especially true Thursday. Richard will be the first person to tell you that the 20-5 win her team scored over the Bulldogs in the Coaches vs. Cancer game at Breed is deceptive.
“It doesn’t feel like that kind of a win,” said Richard, moments after her Rams scored 13 runs in the top of the sixth inning to invoke the mercy rule.
Going into the top of the fifth, English had a 5-2 lead and the Bulldogs were playing superbly.
“They were making the plays,” said Richard. “We were hitting the ball, but they were making some nice plays too.”
Bulldogs pitcher Destiny Delgado, after allowing two runs in the first inning, set down nine in a row and 10 of 11 before Classical finally solved her.
“She had us off-balance,” said Richard.
Meantime, English matched Classical’s two-spot in the first on RBIs by Sarah Tobin and Rachel Calnan. In the third, the Bulldogs went ahead 3-2 when Emma Trahant, who had singled, scored on a wild pitch; and made it 5-2 in the fourth on a single by Tobin and a bases-loaded walk to Lindsey Lannon.
And then, as English coach Cara Crowley said, Classical started hitting.
“They’re the best team in the league,” Crowley said. “They’re going to hit.”
The bell went off in the top of the sixth when, with one out, Rebecca Walker singled and Johnna Calder and Alaina Gridley drew back-to-back walks.
That brought up catcher Meghan Leavitt, who cleared the bases with a booming double to left that tied the game.
“That changed the whole game around,” said Richard. “In that situation, she’s the one I’d want up there. I thought for a minute it was gone. It hung up there for an awful long time.”
Lannon replaced Delgado and got the final two outs.
Crowley did not agree that Leavitt’s hit changed the game.
“Well, yes and no,” she said. “It was still a tie game … and a game that we had a very good chance of winning.”
Classical pitcher Tori Adams, who had trouble at times with her control over the first four innings, settled down after the new life her teammates gave her, retiring English without incident in the bottom of the fifth.
And in the top of the sixth Classical took that new life right to the bank. The Rams sent 19 batters to the plate (batting around twice), and scored 13 runs. Gridley was the main spark in the inning, knocking in four runs and scoring two. Also getting big hits were Maddie Dana (double, two RBI), and Walker (2 hits, 2 RBI).
The Rams, 11-1, don’t have a lot of time to rest on their laurels. Beverly comes to town today (4) at Breed, and the Panthers are the team that eliminated Classical from last year’s tournament.
“They always give us a hard time whenever we play them too,” said Richard.