LYNN — St. Mary’s coach Paige Licata was very happy to see her team win the John Holland Memorial Softball Tournament for the 11th time since its 1997 inauguration.
But she was happier over how the Spartans achieved their 3-0 win over Classical Sunday at Grace Rogato Field. The Spartans parlayed the lights-out pitching of Lily Newhall with some second-inning small ball to take down the Rams.
“That (Classical) is an excellent team, with an excellent pitcher (Brooke Warren),” Licata said. “We not only have to find ways to beat teams like that, but we have to find different ways to win too. I’m very happy about (Sunday).”
The Spartans certainly put their arsenal on display over the weekend as Taylor and Jordan Sullivan both stroked two-run home runs in the second inning of the tournament opener Saturday in a 13-4 victory over Swampscott.
“I guess,” said Licata, “the second inning was our inning.”
Newhall, a freshman, earned tournament MVP honors by striking out 12 Rams in the championship game while allowing only two hits.
Warren was equally stingy for Classical, allowing only three hits and retiring the last 10 Spartan batters in a row.
“It was a real pitchers’ duel,” Licata said.
“I can’t ask anything more from Brooke,” said Classical coach Erica Richard. “I’m disappointed, but give St. Mary’s credit. They earned this.”
The second inning was a bunt fest. Jordan Sullivan led off with a walk, and Julia Nickolau tried to bunt her way on and ended up reaching on an error, with courtesy-runner Alyssa Grossi eventually scoring on the play. Felicia D’Alessandro sacrificed Nickolau, who had taken second on the previous play, to third, and Nickolau scored on Sam Porazinski’s sacrifice fly. On the play, Classical’s Kayla Morrill went out into short right field to catch the ball with her back to the diamond, and whirled around to gun the ball to catcher Maddie Dana in an effort to get Nickolau. But the thow was a second or so too late.
St. Mary’s scored its third run when Marina DiBiasio doubled and scored on an error.
Classical defeated English 15-1 in the preliminary game, with the top of the order doing significant damage. Maggie McHale and Amanda Wilkins scored three runs apiece while Morrill and Kiara Edmonds scored twice.
Swampscott defeated English, 17-4, in the consolation game. English scored all four runs in the second inning, batting around in the process. Aryanna Wlodkowski singled in two of them.
Katie Watts, who started on the mound before giving way to Caleigh Hopkins, had two hits and scored two runs. Chloe Rakauskas also scored twice, and Sydney Cresta had two hits and scored a run. All three made the all-tournament team.
Also on the all-tournament team were: Jordan and Taylor Sullivan along with Katie O’Neill from St. Mary’s; Maggie McHale, Brooke Warren and Kayla Morrill, Classical; and Gealina Chicon, Elena Sierra and Ayrianna Wlodkowski, English. Classical’s Amanda Wilkins received the sportsmanship award.
A senior from each school received scholarships: Maddie Dana, Classical; Vanessa Paul, English; Mia DiBiasio, St. Mary’s and Katie Watts, Swampscott.