North beats South in Agganis softball pitchers’ duel

Hayley O'Brien, left, of Lynnfield and Victoria Adams, right, of Lynn Classical were the Agganis softball game MVPs . Joe Gill of the North Shore Navigators is in the middle. (Owen O'Rourke)

LYNN — The 21st Agganis All-Star Softball Game was a pitching duel, with the North defeating the South, 2-0,  thanks to clutch hitting by Hayley O’Brien (Lynnfield) at Fraser Field in Lynn.

O’Brien went 2-for-2 with an inside the park home run and a triple, scoring the only two runs of the contest. She also pitched three perfect innings and recorded one strikeout. Her performance earned her MVP honors for the North team.

“It was so much fun I loved every second of it,” O’Brien, the lone senior on Lynnfield’s roster this past season, said. “I was so nervous going into it but i mean it was awesome. A perfect way to end it.”

The South MVP was awarded to pitcher Tori Adams (Classical). Adams, who will be attending Manhattan College in the fall, pitched the whole game for the South, allowing two earned runs and four hits while recording nine strikeouts and walking five batters.

The North team was coached by Butch Melanaphy (Peabody) while Classical’s Erica Richard coached the South.

Melanaphy, who coached four of his former Tanners Sunday Kelsie Blake, Mallory LeBlanc, Sydney Lowry and Luciana Mastromatteo and said he felt honored to be part of the game.

“It’s an honor to do this it really is, to get picked for this is an honor,” Melanaphy said. “I told the girls just have fun and go up there and hit, enjoy the game. I really liked it. It was fun.

“It was great to coach them,” Melanaphy said of having some of his former Peabody players on his roster. “It’s the last I’ll see them, they’re four great young ladies.”

“This is a nice way to cap off players’ high school careers,” Richard said.

Richard also had two other players on her roster from Classical, including Adams, Johnna Calder and Meghan Leavitt.

“It was nice to have my three,” Richard added. “There my first four-year crew so I’ve seen their whole four years and to end it in the dugout with them that was awesome and Tori to get MVP that was an awesome way to end it. I can’t ask for more than that.”

Each team’s pitchers dominated most of the game, including Hayley Catania (Amesbury) who started the game, throwing three innings, allowing two hits and recording five strikeouts before O’Brien came into the game.

The South had one brief rally in the second inning thanks to singles by Emily Cataldo (Melrose) and Kalli Doherty (Reading) but was unable to capitalize and would not get another hit for the remainder of the game.

O’Brien, who will be attending Fitchburg State next year, led off the third inning and sent a line drive down the third base line, getting past the left fielder and allowing her to round the bases and come in to score uncontested to give the North the 1-0 lead.

In the sixth inning the North added to the lead once again thanks to the bat of O’Brien, who led off the inning with a triple. Later in the inning O’Brien scored on a passed ball to give the North the 2-0 lead.

That would be all that was needed, Abigail Ewen (Amesbury) closed things down for the North in the seventh, sitting down all three batters she faced and securing the 2-0 win.

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