Harnick Pitches Drury Past Wahconah

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Drury junior Ellie Harnick was cool under pressure, and the Blue Devils' bats heated up just enough to earn a 2-0 win over Wahconah on Saturday afternoon.
Harnick struck out six and scattered six hits. She also stranded four runners in the last two innings while protecting the slim two-run margin to get the Blue Devils off to a 1-0 start this spring.
"It was stressful, but our team worked together," Harnick said. "It was a good outcome. We managed to overcome."
The Blue Devils were nearly flawless in the field, committing just one error with two out in the third to turn a bunt single into a double.
At the plate, Drury had just two hits, but they both came in the bottom of the fourth and then both led to runs.
Wahconah dropped its opener despite an 11-strikeout performance from sophomore Avery Vale-Cruz.
Harnick and the Drury defense stole the show.
"Ellie has been with us for a bit," Drury coach Michelle Darling said. "She's worked really hard. Stepped up today. Her pitches were working.
"She's developed a really good relationship with the catcher. They've been working well together."
Catcher Brooke Bishop also made some sterling plays to help the cause, running down a pop foul for the second out of the fourth inning and diving for a ball in fair territory forthe third out in the fifth.
"Credit to them," Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said. "They just outplayed us. They played better. Defensively, they played better. They were cleaner than we were. A couple of passed balls hurt us, a couple of little miscues in the field hurt us. But hats off to them."
Drury center fielder Mackenzie Dobbert robbed Wahconah of some hits at some key moments. She snared a line drive with a runner on for the third out in the second, ran a long way for a short fly ball with a runner on in the sixth and went well to her left to grab the game's final out with the go-ahead run at the plate.
Dobbert also singled and scored a run in the winning rally.
Drury's fourth inning started with a leadoff single up the middle by Marley Brothers for the Blue Devils' first hit.
She then stole second and went to third on a groundout by Olivia Mazzacco.
Dobbert's one-out single up the middle scored Brothers, and Dobbert moved up on a couple of balls to the backstop.
Bishop's RBI groundout to the right side scored Dobbert to give the Blue Devils a two-run margin.
Harnick pitched her second straight 1-2-3 inning in the fifth to protect that lead, but Wahconah threatened its next time up.
A one-out single by Julia Trager and a two-out single by Kaylee O'Bryan moved a runner into scoring position. But Harnick got the next hitter swinging at a third strike to end the threat.
In the top of the seventh, Harnick got the first two outs on a fly to Olivia Perry in right and a ground ball to Rachael Barrows at second. But Wahconah got singles from Casey Wilson and Emma Belcher at the bottom of its lineup.
Wahconah's spirits were lifted when Morgan Marauszwski drove a ball into the right-center gap, but Dobbert ran it down to end the game.
"They did have runners on late, but [Harnick] did not give up," Darling said. "She did not break her poise at all. She just kept plugging away and believing in herself. That's what we've been preaching all year.
"I'm very happy with the defense. We did stress that we need defense behind our pitchers, because they are not expected to strike out 21 batters. It would be nice. But they need to know their team is behind them, and my team proved it today."
Drury hosts Lenox on Tuesday. Wahconah hosts Taconic on Tuesday.
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