BILLERICA – For the primary time in Patty Higgins’ 29 years as coach, the Billerica softball staff is 12-0.
Senior star pitcher Naomi Boldebuck dialed up 11 strikeouts as a part of a three-hit shutout from the circle, pacing the Indians previous one other Merrimack Valley Conference energy in an 8-0 win over Methuen (6-3) Monday afternoon. An ultra-aggressive baserunning show from the staff sparked a three-run lead via the primary three innings on solely three hits and no RBI.
Once the bats bought going via Katherine Medeiros (2-for-3, two runs), Maggie Quin (RBI single) and Sam Gaona (two-run single, two runs), Billerica wore down Rangers pitcher Ilene Rickard to run away late with a dominant win.
“There’s a group that’s been together for years, and they take it one game at a time,” Higgins stated. “They respect their opponent, but they feel confident in themselves. They think, ‘If we use what we have, we’re in a good position to do something.’ I don’t think anyone has said, ‘Oh wow, we’re 12-0.’ … It’s nice to get the wins and the whole team is contributing, but we also know, it’s always the next one (in the MVC).”
Boldebuck had eight strikeouts over the primary three innings as Billerica opened a 2-0 lead within the first inning. Gaona reached on a fielder’s selection earlier than stealing second base with only one out. Boldebuck compelled an error on a floor ball, then instantly took off for second base to attract a throw and a run-down for Gaona to attain from third. The throw residence to attempt to get Gaona allowed Boldebuck to face protected at second; she finally scored on a wild pitch.
Much of the identical aggression from Boldebuck after a leadoff stroll within the third inning generated one other run on a wild pitch, advancing to second on a floor out earlier than tagging up on a screamer to shallow proper area.
“We do a lot, we try to use base-running and maximize what we can,” added Higgins. “We try to be as aggressive as we can, and I’m lucky to have a lot of veteran kids. … They are learning and know the game well.”
Methuen’s largest menace got here within the second inning, drawing three walks to load the bases. But Boldebuck struck out every batter after each stroll, earlier than then putting out the facet once more within the third inning across the Rangers’ first hit (a Bella Monsanto single).
While she continued to stifle the offense with a devastating curveball that helped produce 23 swing strikes and 5 strikeouts trying, only one error on protection helped her trigger.
“I just focused on the calls that I’m given and hitting my spots,” she stated. “My teammates work hard every day. If I throw a one or two-hit game, it’s really not as much my one or two hits, it’s their one or two-hit (games) because they’re fielding all these balls and making all these outs for me. It’s always a team effort.”
The offense lastly cracking down on Rickard helped as properly, who had allowed three earned runs on 5 hits and three walks via the primary 5 innings to maintain Methuen in putting distance. But as she approached 100 pitches with two outs within the sixth, 5 walks and Gaona’s two-run single powered a four-run inning to place the sport away.
“I think we work really hard (for this start),” Boldebuck stated. “We’re such a tight-knit and close group of girls, and we really want to keep going.”