Marblehead softball takes down Gloucester in NEC tilt

Mercedez Pelletier went 3-for-3 in Wednesday's win. (Item Photo by Owen O'Rourke)

MARBLEHEAD — The Marblehead softball team was in for a wire-to-wire battle with Gloucester during Wednesday’s Northeastern Conference tilt. It’s a good thing the Magicians came ready to play.

Mercedez Pelletier scored twice, Madi Monahan hit a 2-RBI single and Charlotte Plakans gave the Magicians another dominant effort in the circle en route to a 3-2 win over the Fishermen at Marblehead Middle School.

“We did what we had to do,” Marblehead coach Johnny Gold said. “That was a big win for us. We needed that.”

Without taking credit away from Gloucester, Gold was quick to point that Marblehead didn’t make things easy on itself.

“We left 11 runners on base,” Gold said. “We missed eight bunts. If we get some of those bunts down and we get some of those runners home, it’s not as close. I would’ve liked to have seen a little more production there but it was a big win.”

Pelletier, Marblehead’s leadoff batter, gave Gloucester headaches from start to finish. She reached base in all four plate appearances, going 3-for-3. Annika Haley went 2-for-4 from the No. 2 spot.

“Mercedez is a big table-setter for us,” Gold said. “Annika got two hits. Speed helps and they walked Charlotte all day. They didn’t let her get the bat on the ball. If I had to go up against Charlotte, I’d probably do the same thing.”

Monahan went 1-for-3 with two RBI. Jolie Quintana (0-for-2, walk) brought home the final run of the game on a fielder’s choice.

Plakans went all seven innings, allowing two hits with five strikeouts.

Gloucester grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Marblehead answered in the bottom half of the frame. The Magicians loaded the bases on Pelletier’s single and walks to Plakans and Rachel Saulnier. Monahan cashed in on the opportunity, lacing her 2-RBI single with two outs to give Marblehead a 2-1 lead. Pelletier and Plakans scored on the hit.

Gloucester tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the second, making the most of a pair of Marblehead errors.

“Gloucester’s a good team,” Gold said. “They get up to the plate and they make things happen and I like that. It was a good game.”

The Magicians rallied again in the bottom of the fourth. Pelletier and Haley got things started with back-to-back one-out singles. Plakans walked, loading the bases for Quintana who plated Pelletier with a fielder’s choice on a sharply-hit ground ball.

Marblehead’s 3-2 lead was all the breathing room Plakans needed. But she didn’t get the job done without help from her defense.

Gloucester threatened with runners on first and second in the top of the sixth. Marblehead escaped the jam when Saulnier caught a fly ball and doubled off the Gloucester runner at second base.

After back-to-back strikeouts, Plakans allowed consecutive walks in the seventh. Quintana fielded a ground ball hit her way and made the clean throw to first base, sealing the 3-2 win.

“I told Charlotte that it takes guts for her to go out and do what she did,” Gold said. “Same thing with Jolie, making that perfect throw right to first base. Jolie’s normally our catcher but we had to firm things up at third base and she’s a real athlete.”

Marblehead improved to 7-6 with the victory and hosts Saugus Thursday (5). The Magicians are three wins away from qualifying for the state tournament.

“We have to work,” Gold said. “We have some big games coming up next week. We have Burlington, North Reading and Attleboro, and we have Saugus (Thursday). Those are some tough games. But I feel a lot better at 7-6 than I would at 6-7.”

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