LOWELL–Despite an outstanding pitching performance from Samantha Melanson, No. 6 Medford softball fell to No. 7 seed Newton North 2-1 in the Division 1 North semifinals Thursday night at Martin Field in Lowell.
“We played a very good team they were the defending North champions they lost in the Eastern Mass finals last year,” Medford head coach Jack Dempsey said. “But we were ready, we played them as best we could and with a break here or there we might have won the game.”
The game was a pitcher’s duel from start to finish with Melanson pitching a complete game, allowing no earned runs on three hits while striking out two, hitting one and allowing one walk. For Newton North, Mia Patriacca also threw the whole game, allowing no earned runs, striking out eight batters and allowing three hits while hitting one batter.
“Sam (Melanson) is amazing,” Dempsey said. “She is, in my eyes, one of the greatest clutch performers that I have ever coached. She doesn’t get rattled and she hung in there.”
Newton North’s Emma Mclean (1-for-3 with one run scored) led off the game with a single to left field. Izzy Antonelli (0-for-3 with an RBI) then sent a bunt down the third base line fielded by Medford’s Kayla Dell’Anno, who’s throw was out of the reach of Summer Tufts playing first. The error allowed Mclean to score and brought Scanlon all the way around to third base.
Later in the inning, Mia Bueno sent a sacrifice fly ball to center field, scoring Scanlon and giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead early.
“We showed a lot of class and we hung in there,” Dempsey said. “Down 2-0 it seemed like they were going to have a big inning but our kids are tough. All year, I think we lost four games by a total of four runs, we’ve been in every single game. These kids they come back, they fight, they’re great kids it’s just a tough tough loss.
The Mustang’s respond in the second inning when Makenzie Eisnor ripped a line drive down the right field line for a double. Next up, Kimberly Scanlon’s (0-for-3 with an RBI) ground ball to second base got through the infield thanks to an error, sending courtesy runner Rayanne Forbes home and Scanlon to third cutting down the lead 2-1. Later in the inning Scanlon would be thrown out at home while trying to score on a ground ball.
The Mustang bats came alive again for a brief moment in the fifth inning, when back-to-back hits by Brenna Forbes and Mya Winslow put runners at second and third with two outs. Medford was unable to capitalize and was no hit in for the rest of the game, bringing their season to an end.
“It was amazing,” Dempsey said, looking back on the season his team had. “I mean right from the start we played hard and were in every game they never got down they just played their game, they played like an experienced winning team.”
Dempsey is confident that the Mustangs will be back next year with another talented team.
“I think well be good,” he said. “I know we’ll be good without a doubt.”