May 24, 2016


Sectional softball: Amherst survives stern test from Magnificat, stays undefeated

AMHERST – The Comets were tested Wednesday in a Division I sectional final, but escaped with a 2-0 win and a 22-0 record.
“We played our best game, but the outcome wasn`t what we wanted,” Magnificat manager Chris Barrow said.
Amherst will face Lakewood, a winner over Avon Lake, on Tuesday in a district semifinal. Magnificat leaves the tournament trail at 4-17.
“We knew coming into the game that it would be a tough one,” Comets manager Bill Matthews said. “We`ve played Magnificat three times in the last four or five years and it`s always been a good game.”
Amherst scored a run in the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Jennifer Sutton was hit by a pitch leading off. She moved to second on Ari Antonopoulos` sacrifice bunt and took third on a passed ball. Aleecia Sunagel brought her home with a sacrifice fly to right field.
The score stayed that way until the fourth inning as Sutton (12-0) and the Streaks` Mary Kate Cleary (4-12) traded strikeout for strikeout.
But in the bottom of the fourth inning the rains came and continued for the duration. Amherst was able to take advantage of two errors by Magnificat to score a second run, although it could have been more.
Olivia Sliman led off the Comets` inning with a double to left and moved to third on Amanda Arendt`s sacrifice bunt. Bianca Sanchez grounded to third, but Kerri Kramer was unable to handle the ball and it went into left field. Sliman scored.
Sarah Novotny laid down another bunt and Magnificat`s catcher threw the ball wildly into right field. Sanchez went to third and the Comets had runners on first and third with one out. Abby Rositano hit a sharp groundball to Kramer, who tagged out Sanchez, who had strayed too far. Following a walk to Chelsea Kurtz, Cleary struck out Sutton to end the threat.
Magnificat had a chance to put a run on the board in the sixth inning as Erin Marvinney led off with a double over Sanchez`s head in left field. Sutton struck out the next three batters.
Sanchez preserved the shutout in the top of the seventh as Mary Hyland hit a fly ball to left that would probably have cleared the fence, but Sanchez caught the ball before crashing through the fence.
“Defense and pitching, that`s how you win things,” Matthews said. “Jenn pitched well today and that catch by Brianna saved a home run and that made a huge difference in the game.
“It`s been that way all year, everybody steps up. Each game it`s someone different stepping up. We`re just happy with the win because we know we get to play next Tuesday. That`s all that counts.”
“This was the game we`ve been looking for all year,” Barrow said “We battled and had a couple of nice shots, but a hit here or there and it might have been a different game.”
Contact Ron Nenadal at 329-7135 or