Minors softball doesn’t get any better than Saturday’s championship game between Post 53 and Halstead Properties.
Post 53 came out like the dominant team it had been all season, hitting hard to score five runs in the top of the first, thanks to Gabby Perreault, Katherine Lester, Alex Bodnar, Emily Grandon and Maggie Fitzmaurice.
But Halstead quickly responded with Devon Schiff, Sarah Bogdan, Hannah Byrne, Emily Gardella and Emily Riccardi all scoring in the bottom half to tie it up.
Both teams settled down and only allowed 2 runs each over the next four innings.
Halstead’s defense was led by the outstanding pitching of Skyler Bennett and Grace Gardella, and defensive gems such as Kennison Harmon’s running catch in the third, and Grace Gardella and Bogdan’s rally-killing double-play in the fifth.
Highlights for Post 53 included a brilliant play from short stop Amanda Loura to Katie McTigue on first and an incredible catch by pitcher Diana Degnan on a hard-hit liner from Halstead.
After Post 53 took a second inning lead on runs by Colleen Cassidy and Loura, batted in by Elizabeth Evanchick and Lester, Halstead answered again with an RBI single by Katie Daileader to make it a one-run game.
Post 53 held on to a short-lived lead until Halstead tied the game at 7-7 in the third inning when Harmon lined a double to the fence in right center, scoring Riccardi.
In the fourth inning, determined not to give up any more runs, Post 53 put their ace Annie Salvi on the mound, who kept Halstead scoreless for two innings, striking out the side twice.
With the score tied until the top of the sixth, Post 53’s Perreault scored on an RBI single by Fitzmaurice to regain the lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, with Halstead down by a run and Post 53’s Salvi looking unhittable, things looked grim for Halstead, but they weren’t about to give up.
Harmon and Bennett each got hits, then Caeleigh O’Connor slugged an RBI single to tie it up.
Salvi struck out the next batter, but Sophie Howard walked to load the bases bringing Arden Anderson to the plate.
Salvi was firing nothing but strikes, but Anderson managed to foul off at least five pitches to work to a full count.
Anderson finally drove a hard ground ball to the shortstop who fired to the plate but Bennett beat the throw to give Halstead the victory.