Lopez Leads Way as Pittsfield Outslugs Drury

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. – With temperatures just above freezing and the wind howling on Saturday morning, Pittsfield coach Brian MacDonald was a little concerned going into his team’s opener against Drury.
But not for any reason you might think.
“The bats – I was mostly worried about that,” he said. “Cold weather, cracking bats. These girls spent a lot of money on those $500 bats.”
The investment paid off for the Generals in a 23-11 win that ended in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Pittsfield pounded out 18 hits, including four from Neveah Lopez, who had a pair of doubles and drove in three runs.
Gionnah Levardi was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, and Mia DeJesus helped her cause with a pair of hits while striking out four and allowing just five earned runs in the circle.
All five of those earned runs came before the Generals got to use their bats.
Drury jumped on top with four hits and five runs in the top of the first.
After Maddie Saunders drew a one-out walk, Brooke Bishop drove her home with a triple to left. Olivia Perry, Marley Brothers and Norah Wood then strung together three straight singles to make it 4-0.
Wood went to second on a throw home and came around on a pair of pitches that got to the backstop to give the Blue Devils a 5-0 lead.
Pittsfield answered right away with an eight-run rally in the bottom of the first.
Like the Blue Devils, the Generals did all their damage after a leadoff out.
Paxton Ebling got things started with an infield single. She eventually came home on an infield single from Lopez before Kamryn Renata (2-for-2, three RBIs) drove in a pair with a single to right.
Levardi crushed a two-run double to right to extend the rally, which was capped by a single by Mia Arpante (2-for-5), who ended up scoring on the inning’s second error.
The Blue Devils responded with a five-run second that was helped by back-to-back errors with one out and one on.
Wood helped make the errors hurt with an infield single for her third RBI of the day, and it was 10-8 Drury going to the bottom of the second.
Pittsfield batted around for the second time in the game in that second inning to score 10 times and take an 18-10 lead.
No. 9 hitter Natalie Arhnold had the big hit, a bases-clearing double to left in the middle of the rally. Ella Bassi (2-for-4) drove in a pair of runs with a single to left.
After scoring 28 runs combined in the first two innings, both teams found their stride on defense, allowing just two runs over the next 2-½ frames.
DeJesus gave up an unearned run in the third, which she ended with a strikeout to strand a runner on second.
She went on to pitch two 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth, helped by Ebling, who threw out a runner trying to steal second in the fourth.
“She struggled [early],” MacDonald said. “Her hands were cold. It’s just tough when it’s old. But that’s the name of the game, the nature of the beast. You’ve got to fight through it, and she did. We’re very proud of her on the mound.”
Her offense gave her a run in the fourth and four to end the game in the fifth when Bassi came home on the front end of a delayed double steal with Levardi.
“It was good to see we answered that first inning with some hits of our own,” MacDonald said. “That was not the way we wanted to start it, obviously. The cold weather and the wind was a factor for both sides. Both teams struggled in that department.
“[We] hit well. They absolutely did. I think we have a squad full of hitters, and it’s just going to get better from here.”
Pittsfield (1-0) goes to Minnechaug on Thursday.
Drury (0-1) goes to Chicopee Comprehensive on Friday.
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