Sports

O’Brien dazzles in Lynnfield softball’s win

Senior pitcher Hayley O'Brien logged 15 strikeouts in Lynnfield's win over Hamilton-Wenham. (Photo by Anne Marie Tobin )

LYNNFIELD — When senior pitcher Hayley O’Brien is on her A-game, the Lynnfield softball team is tough to beat. And when the Pioneers show an aggressive approach at the plate and on the basepaths, opponents will have an even tougher time playing against them.

That was the winning formula Friday afternoon when the Pioneers rolled past Hamilton-Wenham for a 12-3 win at Lynnfield High.

O’Brien, a team captain and the only senior on the Lynnfield roster, pitched seven strong innings in a complete game effort. She tallied 15 strikeouts, allowing just two hits and four walks. Save for a tough bottom of the third inning that saw the Generals draw three walks and both of their hits, O’Brien had no trouble pitching through Hamilton-Wenham’s order.

“Hayley’s been pitching solid,” Pioneers coach Peter Marinelli said. “She’s pitched all four of our games this season. She’s a senior, she’s a captain and a leader on our team. She does a great job. She works real hard and you have to when you’re a pitcher. She put a lot of effort in during the offseason to get ready for the season.”

Lynnfield’s bats did their part supporting O’Brien. The Pioneers had runners on base in each inning and swiped seven stolen bases in the winning effort.

“We’re starting to get a little more aggressive at the plate,” Marinelli said. “We started the season a little bit unaggressive but now we’re going up there looking to hit strikes. It looks pretty good so far. When you’re a young team the main thing is to go out there and start swinging.”

Friday’s game was originally scheduled to be played at Hamilton-Wenham but was later moved to Lynnfield due to unplayable field conditions. Thus, the Pioneers were the visiting team for the tilt.

After a scoreless first inning, the Pioneers scored five runs in the top of the second to build their lead. Reilly Ganter got Lynnfield on the board with a two-RBI triple, scoring Samantha Lebruska and Jenna Freni. Breanna Serabian followed with a RBI single, plating Ganter, for the 3-0 lead. Back to back RBI triples from Chloe Shapleigh and O’Brien bumped the lead to 5-0.

Lynnfield added two more in the top of the the third. Ganter laced a RBI single, scoring Freni. Serabian kept the rally alive with a RBI triple, bringing Ganter home to give the Pioneers a 7-0 advantage.

“That’s the thing we have to do, put the pressure on the other team,” Marinelli said. “If they make a great play, that’s fine. If we put the pressure on them anything can happen and we took advantage. We have to take advantage of those mistakes.”

Hamilton-Wenham took advantage of a string of walks in the bottom of the third to slim their deficit down to 7-3. The Pioneers fired back with two runs in the fourth, with Shapleigh racing home on a passed ball and Jillian Babine scoring on a fielder’s choice.

The Pioneers plated two more in the sixth inning and rounded out the scoring with a RBI triple from Serabian’s bat in the seventh.

O’Brien sealed the win by striking out the side in the bottom half of the seventh.

Lynnfield improved to 3-1 with the win, 2-1 in Cape Ann League play. The Pioneers are back in action Wednesday morning (10) when they host CAL opponent Newburyport.

“I don’t know too much about Newburyport this year,” Marinelli said. “I know they lost a few players (to graduation). We split with them last year so I’m sure it’ll be a competitive game and we’ll do the best we can.”

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