PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Pittsfield sophomore Sophia Groves gave up two hits before she got her second out on Friday afternoon.
And she left the top of the first down, 2-0.
But after that rocky start, Groves was rock solid in pitching Pittsfield to a 4-2 win over Mount Everett.
Groves retired 15 batters in a row after Jaclyn Derwitsch’s RBI single in the top of the first, and the Eagles managed just one more baserunner against Groves the rest of the afternoon.
“Even in that first inning, I thought she was throwing fine,” Pittsfield coach Greg Marchbanks said. “They just got three hits, I think, off the end of the bat. The ball got past the catcher, and, you know, that stuff happens.
“She recovered and didn’t give up anything after that.”
Groves’ defense came up big in the sixth. Just before Makenzie Ullrich earned Mount Everett’s first hit in 15 at-bats, Lexi Sondrini made a diving catch in left to prevent extra bases.
The Pittsfield offense, meanwhile, had trouble solving Mount Everett starter Faith Angell, who left two runners on in the first two innings and took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
That is when Mia Potash led off with a pinch-hit triple. One out later, she came home on a Brianna Clary sacrifice fly to center to get the Generals on the board.
Angell benefited from a couple of big defensive plays in maintaining the lead. In the third, Mount Everett first baseman Marion Devoti snared a line drive up the line and stepped on the bag for a double play to end the inning. In the fifth, Gwen Carpenter at short charged a fly ball and fired a relay to Devoti to double up another runner for the Eagles’ second double play of the game.
Two walks and a wild pitch around a pair of outs set the table for Pittsfield’s winning runs in the sixth.
Clary singled to right center to score Natasha Shade and Madison Tobin. And then Tess Lyon ripped a double to left that scored Clary.
Groves retired the side in order in the top of the seventh thanks to a couple of strong plays by Clary at third, and Pittsfield (15-2) moved on to enjoy the holiday weekend ahead of Tuesday’s trip to St. Peter Marian.
Mount Everett (10-6) faces pre-tournament tests next week against Hoosac Valley and Mount Greylock this week.
Eagles coach Joshua King said his team needs to work on finishing in tight ballgames as it looks to the post-season.
“It’s the curse of the sixth inning,” King said. “We lost the other day to Pioneer in the sixth. We lost to these guys in the sixth. We lost to Hoosac Valley in the sixth. Like you saw, we’re capable of playing with anybody, but we’ve got to finish.
“It doesn’t matter who is on the field, who’s not in the field, they’ve just got to trust themselves and believe in themselves that they can make those plays.”
The Eagles were playing their fourth game in four days and fifth in in six days, so King suggested that may have caught up with them. And a two-run loss to the defending Western Massachusetts Division 1 champions is nothing to sneeze at.
But there were no smiles to be seen on the Mount Everett side as they walked off the field on Friday.
“”It’s one of those things,” King said. “You take it as a moral victory, but at some point, we’ve got to start beating some of these teams if we’re going to do things. Because that’s going to build confidence in them and help with our seeding and things like that.”