Pair of Aces Lift Lee to Narrow Win over Spartans
LEE, Mass. – The one-two punch of Taryn Bannon and Bri Lynch led the Lee softball team to a 3-2 win over Monument Mountain and its 12th win over the season on Friday afternoon.
The Wildcats scored three times in the bottom of the fifth, and their pitching and defense did the rest as Lee improved to 12-5 overall and 3-2 in games decided by two runs or fewer this spring.
Bannon got the call to start the game in the circle and allowed one run on three hits through three innings before handing the ball to Lynch.
Lynch struck out eight in four innings, giving up two hits, including a Takiya Brown RBI triple that made things interesting in the top of the sixth.
Lee coach Sam Barbarotta said that having the luxury of two quality pitchers allows her to switch things up mid-game and give opposing hitters a different look after the first couple of at-bats.
“That’s kind of the strategy behind it,” Barbarotta said. “We have two different pitchers who throw relatively similar velocities, but their strengths are opposite pitches. So we benefit from having them pitch one after the other.
“That’s why we’ve been trying to start to work it in, so when you get to tournament time, and you only see teams once, we can have that strategy in place.”
The Spartans (10-4) drew first blood on Friday afternoon.
Mia Wade led off the second inning with a double to right-center. She moved up when Brown reached on a dropped third strike and scored when Alex Tenney reached on a bunt to make it 1-0.
Monument Mountain eventually loaded the bases with one out, but Lee’s Kylie Joyce ran down a fly ball in left field and fired to second to double up a runner and end the threat.
It stayed 1-0, Spartans through the middle innings as Monument Mountain pitcher Meg Dupont stranded four runners over the first four innings.
In the fifth, Lee was able to cash in on its scoring opportunities.
Lily Brancato got things started with a leadoff walk, and Makayla Schuerer moved her over by dropping a single into center field.
Kamryn Renata then got the Wildcats on the board with an RBI double to left.
She said Lee was able to keep plugging away against Dupont.
“I was just looking to make contact,” Renata said.
“We just had to keep our heads up. We gave each other high fives and said to shake everything off, and we came together.”
Autumn Schwab followed with an RBI single, and Joyce hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Renata and make it 3-1.
Dupont got the next two outs on ground balls to strand Schwab at third, one of six runners she left on base in the loss.
Her offense gave her some help in the top of the sixth when Wade hit a one-out single to right and pinch-hitter Dakota Massey came all the way around to score on Brown’s triple to right.
Lynch struck out the next two hitters to strand Brown at third, and she struck out the side in the top of the seventh to end the game.
Monument Mountain coach Jamie Downer said she and her team were disappointed to come out on the wrong side of the scoreboard on Friday, but she was excited to have a chance to see her team engaged in a hard-fought, well-played, close contest against a quality opponent.
“It’s always tough to lose, especially against a rival like Lee,” Downer said. “But close games are fun, the girls get better. … Our defense is something we’ve been working on, and that really kept us in the game today, so I’m proud of how they played.
“I said to the girls, ‘I’m not mad at how you played today.’ These games are the ones where you get better. It’s fun to be challenged. It’s fun to play a good squad. Running up the score? It has its benefits. But these close games are where we get better.”
Monument Mountain (10-5) goes to Westfield Tech on Wednesday.
Lee (12-5) hosts St. Mary’s on Tuesday.