MARBLEHEAD — The Marblehead softball team continued its dominant season Wednesday afternoon, notching a 15-4 win over a strong Beverly team at Veterans Middle School.
The Magicians benefitted from a huge game from cleanup hitter Sammi Treff, who went 2-for-3 with five RBI. Charlotte Plakans (2-for-4), Hannah Garthe (2-for-4) and Madi Ernst (1-for-2) each contributed two RBI, while Frances Palk (1-for-3) and Bel Sogoloff (0-for-3) each had one RBI. Plakans also got the job done on the mound, getting over a rough start to pitch seven innings and give up four runs on seven hits with 10 strikeouts.
The Magicians were also able to take advantage of an uncharacteristic pitching performance by Beverly, reaching base via 11 walks and three hit-by-pitches.
Despite the lopsided score, Marblehead coach Johnny Gold recognized that neither team played its best game.
“We really didn’t play that great today,” said Gold. “We got some hits in key situations when we needed them, but mainly we just benefitted from the walks. Charlotte had a slow start on the mound, which doesn’t usually happen, but then she showed how good she was when she worked her way out of it and got stronger as the game went on.”
Beverly was led by Natalie Stilwell, who went 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. Marlee Hamor went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
After watching the first inning of this game, one would be forgiven for thinking this game was going to be a back-and-forth scoring festival. The Panthers wasted no time pushing a run across, as Julia Pitman led off the game with a single and was sacrificed to second base on a bunt to set things up with a runner in scoring position. In stepped Hamor, who laced an RBI single into centerfield to give Beverly a 1-0 lead.
Marblehead answered right back, and then some, in the bottom of the first. Plakans tied the game up with an RBI single, then back-to-back RBI singles from Ernst and Garthe put the Magicians ahead. After Palk added her RBI infield single, Marblehead took a 4-1 lead into the second inning.
The Panthers got one back in the top of the second. A walk and an error placed runners on first and third, and Beverly coach Megan Sudak called for a double steal that was executed perfectly and brought a run home to make it 4-2. Beverly went on to move runners to second and third with two outs, but Plakans was able to escape the inning with no further damage.
The bottom of the second is where Marblehead ran away with the game. The Magicians sent 15 batters to the plate in the inning and scored nine runs, starting with a two-run single from Treff to make it 6-2. Marblehead then loaded the bases for Garthe, who knocked her second RBI single of the game. From there, Marblehead scored two runs on passed balls and then got four runs thanks to back-to-back bases loaded walks from Plakans and Treff and back-to-back hit-by-pitches from Sogoloff and Ernst, stretching the lead to 13-2.
The lead remained there until the top of the fourth, when Stilwell got a couple runs back on her two-run home run. But in the bottom of the sixth, Marblehead capped off the scoring when Treff hit her second two-run single of the game to bring it to 15-4.
Now 16-1 on the year, Marblehead gets set to finish off the regular season with a big game against a 15-2 Peabody team next Wednesday (4). According to Gold, it should be a great way to prepare for the upcoming state tournament.
“It’s really a best-case scenario for both teams,” Gold said. “The game very well may decide the winner of the Northeastern Conference, and each of us gets to play a very good team right before we go into the tournament. It can’t get much better than that.”
Beverly (9-7) also plays Peabody next, on Saturday in the Corning Tournament at Endicott College (11).