MARBLEHEAD — Charlotte Plakans didn’t need much help Friday afternoon, getting the job done both in the circle and at the plate to help lead the Marblehead softball team to a 9-2 win over Northeastern Conference foe Swampscott at Marblehead Veterans Middle School. Plakans tossed a complete game, allowing two runs on six hits with eight strikeouts, and also went 1-for-3 with a home run and four RBI.
“Swampscott’s got some good hitters and they were able to get a couple good swings on Charlotte early on, but she really battled back,” said Marblehead coach Johnny Gold. “She had a couple issues with control at times too, but she fought through it all. She also helped her own cause at the plate, which always helps.”
Jolie Quintana went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while Annika Haley went 2-for-3 with one RBI. Mercedes Pelletier (2-for-3, run), Rachel Saulnier (1-for-2, run) and Mia Grenada (1-for-3, triple) also had hits.
For Swampscott, Nicolette Fraser went 2-for-4 with a home run and one RBI. Sydney Cresta (2-for-4) and Megan Holmes (1-for-1) also had hits for the Big Blue.
“We wanted to jump out early, and we were able to do that,” said Swampscott coach Gary Moran. “But at the end of the day, Marblehead was able to hit and continue hitting all game. They hit the ball hard, they benefited from some walks and they were able to push some runs across. We had some chances as well, but we weren’t able to cash in on most of them.”
Swampscott struck the first blow in the game, pushing one run across in the top of the first. After Plakans retired the leadoff hitter, Fraser stepped into the batter’s box and launched a solo home run over the wall in right-centerfield to take a 1-0 lead. Plakans recovered nicely after the homer, retiring the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Marblehead loaded up the bases in the bottom of the first, but the Magicians couldn’t push across any runs. The second inning, however, was a different story.
Marblehead once again loaded the bases, and this time Plakans didn’t let the opportunity go to waste. She drew a RBI walk to tie the score at 1-1, then Quintana stepped in and laced a 2-RBI double to the centerfield wall to take a 3-1 lead.
The Magicians continued to pile on in the third inning. After scoring a run on an error, Haley notched a RBI on an infield hit to make it 5-1 and put two runners on base. Next up was Plakans, who smashed a three-run homer to left field and blew the game open at 8-1.
Marblehead added one more run on a passed ball in the sixth inning to make it 9-1, then Swampscott scored on an error in the top of the seventh to round out the scoring.
The loss puts the Big Blue at 2-9 on the season, meaning their chances of a state tournament berth are getting slimmer by the day. But Moran knows that his team is young, and every game is a new opportunity to get better moving forward.
“This is a young team, and we need to continue to work on things,” said Moran. “There are a lot of things that they just don’t know and they won’t know those things until they happen in games. So we’ve just got to keep working and keep plugging along, and hopefully we can continue to get better out there.”
Swampscott hosts Peabody Monday (4).
Marblehead (6-5), on the other hand, is starting to hit its stride after struggling in the early part of the season. With a spot in the state tournament still very much in play, Gold is hoping his team can continue to improve in the coming weeks.
“We’ve been playing a lot better over the past couple weeks,” said Gold. “We were 3-5 and now we’ve won three in a row, so things are looking up. We’ve got a tough stretch of opponents to close the year, but hopefully we can keep up this level of play and find our way into the tournament.”
Marblehead will play on the road at Danvers Monday (4).