PEABODY — The Saugus softball team is in the middle of a tough stretch. The Sachems continued playing the Northeastern Conference iron Friday, traveling to Kiley School in Peabody.
They came away with an 8-0 loss, with Tanner pitcher Tianna Dawe dominating them on all fronts, striking out nine and allowing only one hit.
“We knew what we were up against,” said Saugus coach Steve Almquist. “And you could see it. We’d hit the ball hard and they’d make the play, and we’d be out by 10 feet. They’d hit the ball and it was 50-50.”
But Almquist didn’t want to put it all on his team either.
“They hit the ball all over the lot,” said Almquist. “That’s a really good team over there. We knew they were going to give us trouble. They give everybody trouble.”
On the other side of the field, Peabody coach Butch Melanphy saw his team’s undefeated streak rise to 5-0.
“We’ve had some good teams,” said Melanphy, “and I’ve never had a start like this — not in my time at least.”
Caitlyn Wood got the only hit for Saugus, a single up the middle to lead off the second inning. But Dawe proceeded to strike out the side, and the Sachems went 1-2-3 from that point on.
Mallory LeBlanc led off the bottom of the first with a booming home run on Wood’s first pitch.
“There was a pretty good wind blowing out,” Melanphy said, “and she got it up high enough.”
Wood recovered from that to retire the side in order after that, and had an equally effective second inning. But roof fell in on the Sachems in the third.
It started with an error on a ground ball by Makayla Iannalfo. Kelsie Blake executed a perfect sacrifice and it was so good that Iannalfo got all the way to third. The next three Tanner hitters — LeBlanc, Makayla Rooney and Lucianna Mastromatteo — all got infield hits. LeBlanc scorched a line drive that caught Wood on the arm and scored Iannalfo. Mastromatteo’s hit got two runs across, and Kristina Rossignoll’s double scored the fourth run of the inning to make it 5-0.
“Caitlyn pitched well,” said Almquist, “but we always seem to have that one bad inning.”
After a 1-2-3 fourth, Peabody scored its last three runs in the fifth. Again, fielding issues by Saugus played a role, as LeBlanc led off by reaching on an error that resulted on her getting to second base, and she scored on Rooney’s single to center.
After Mastromatteo struck out, Rooney was out trying to steal second on a nice throw down to the base by D.J. Munafo. However, Rossignoll walked before Dawe hit another one out of the park — this one hitting the car of a former teammate who had come to watch the game.