Pioneers season ends in Amesbury

Pioneers senior Hayley O'Brien logged a hit in Tuesday's game at Amesbury. (Item File Photo)

AMESBURY — The No. 14 Lynnfield softball team barely had time to catch its breath against No. 11 Amesbury Tuesday afternoon, as the Indians exploded for 10 runs over the first two innings en route to handing the Pioneers a 13-1 loss in the Division 3 North quarterfinals at Amesbury Middle School.

“We gave away too many in the beginning and dug ourselves into a hole, and we could just never get out of that hole,” said Lynnfield coach Peter Marinelli. “But, we went up against a good team, we’ve got a lot of young players out there and we’ve just got to learn to be better. It’s a tough way to go down, but we’ve had a good season.”

Lynnfield only mustered four hits, three of which came from one player. Freshman leadoff hitter Chloe Shapleigh led the way, going 3-for-3 with a home run and one RBI. Senior Hayley O’Brien had the only other hit for the Pioneers, a single in the sixth inning.

For Amesbury, the day was dominated by pitcher Hayley Catania. She pitched all six innings for the Indians, giving up one run on four hits with one hit batter and nine strikeouts. Hayley Catania also went 4-for-4 at the plate with two home runs and two RBI. Emma Catania (2-for-4, HR, four RBI) and Julia Campbell (1-for-3, HR, RBI) also homered for Amesbury.

The Indians started fast in the bottom of the first. Back-to-back singles put runners on first and third for Sydney Daileanes, who rolled a ground ball that turned into an error to bring home the game’s first run. Next up was Emma Catania, who belted a deep home run to left-centerfield to make it 4-0.

After Hayley Catania sent down the side in order in the top of the second, Amesbury got back to work with the bats. Campbell and Hayley Catania each hit a solo home run to stretch the lead to 6-0 before another throwing error by Lynnfield brought home another run. Then, after RBI singles from Emma Catania, Meghan McElaney and Karleigh Walker, respectively, Amesbury held a commanding 10-0 lead.

Lynnfield scored its lone run in the top of the third. After Hayley Catania gave up a single to Shapleigh to start the game, she went on to retire the next eight batters in order. Then, Shapleigh came up in the top of the third and launched a home run to give Lynnfield some life. Unfortunately for the Pioneers, Hayley Catania once again locked in and retired the next eight batters in order to keep Lynnfield at bay.

Hayley Catania also answered with her bat, launching her second homer of the game in the bottom of the third to make it 11-1.

Amesbury added another run in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI sacrifice fly from Hannah Burdick to make it 12-1, then ended the game in the bottom of the sixth when a run came home on a Lynnfield error to trigger the mercy rule.

While it’s a tough way to end the season, Marinelli knows that he has his entire roster returning next year, minus one player. That player, O’Brien, has been one of the most important players for the Pioneers over the past few years.

“She’s going to be a big loss,” Marinelli said of O’Brien. “She’s been a great hitter for us, and she’s pitched almost every game for the past three years, so she’ll be tough to replace. And as good of a player as she is, she’s an even better kid. So we’re going to miss her.”

Amesbury will clash against No. 10 St. Mary’s in Thursday’s (3:30) Division 3 North semifinal at Lowell’s Martin Field.

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