NAPLES, Florida – Sunday afternoon marked the beginning of the Anna Maria softball season down in Florida. The team opened up against the Albion College Britons and what a season opener it was. Between the two teams there were 29 runs scored and eight innings played with Albion winning by the narrowest of margins, 15-14.
For the AMCATS, Jacqueline LaPierre (Worcester, Mass) led off and was three-for-four on the day with three singles, a walk and four runs scored. Sophomore Annie Melanson (Grafton, Mass) went two-for-four on the day with a double and a triple, a walk, was hit by a pitch, and scored three of the AMCATS 14 runs. Junior Victoria Falco (Marlborough, Mass) also scored multiple runs in the game, scoring twice in a two-for-four effort with two singles and she was hit by a pitch. Falco also started in the circle for the 'Cats, pitching five innings.
Albion had three players score multiple times in the game, led by leadoff hitter Angela Hoffsis who scored four times, including the winning run in the 8th. Hoffsis was three-for-three in the game with three singles and three walks. Freshman Camille Roloff was one of the other players to score multiple times in a one-for-five effort. She reached base three times, on a single, error and a walk. Freshman Kimberly Freitas ended up being the pitcher of record for Albion.
Anna Maria started the year off hot as they scored three runs in the first inning, sending all nine batters to the plate in the innings, LaPierre, Melanson, and Falco each scored in the frame. However, in the bottom of the first, Albion answered with three runs of their own to tie the game.
The second inning was another big one for the AMCAT women, scoring five more runs to take an 8-3 lead in just the second inning. This time, sending 10 batters to the plate, LaPierre hitting twice.
The AMC defense was able to keep the Britons at bay in the second and third innings as Falco allowed just three hitters to reach in the two frames, holding their opponent scoreless and maintaining the five-run lead.
The AMCAT offense cooled off as well in the third and fourth with just two player reaching base. The bottom of the fourth went a little differently than the last two innings for Albion as they would score three runs to cut the deficit to two after four.
In the fifth inning, on the back of a Falco triple, the AMCATS put three more runs on the board. Falco drove in two and then was driven in by freshman Allison Sholds (Methuen, Mass) to regain the five-run lead the 'Cats had just an inning prior. The Britons would grab a run back in the bottom of the inning to cut the AMC advantage to four, 11-7.
In the sixth inning the AMCATS scored two more times to go up six, 13-7. LaPierre scored for the fourth time and senior Amanda Lemire (Methuen, Mass) came around to score her first run of the game and season. In the bottom of the sixth, the 'Cats defense saw an Albion team that they hadn't seen in the first five innings. The Britons sent nine hitters to the plate and though three of them were retired, the other six scored to tie the game up with just an inning of regulation remaining.
In the seventh, the 'Cats were retired in order, and in the Britons half, they sent five hitters to the plate but were unable to break the tie and the game headed to extra innings.
In extra innings softball, international rule states that the offensive team will begin the last out of the previous inning on second base. This worked out for Anna Maria as Lemire stole third and Kayla Magierowski (Brimfield, Mass) sacrifice squeezed her home to break the tie, 14-13. The extra inning rule proved beneficial for Albion as well. With a runner on second, Hoffsis reached base and then both runners were driven in on a walk-off double to take the exciting, eight inning, three and a half hour game, 15-14.