By KEN MORSE
The Plainville softball team did some of the things that competitors do in the season opener against Waterbury Career on Saturday. But youth and inexperience is not always a smooth road to navigate.
Led by senior Caitlin Bradley and juniors Victoria Corriveau, Kaylee Lamothe and Alyssa Roy, head coach Scott Marcucio began the season with a lineup that included two sophomores and three freshmen.
The Blue Devils were battling the Spartans in a 1-1 tie game heading into the fifth inning when the wheels started to come off the wagon. A fielding error and two throwing errors paved the way to an eight run outburst and Career came away with an 11-3 win over Plainville.
“We are not that far away,” said Marcucio. “We talked to the team about showing our mental toughness and after we gave up those eight runs we came right back and threatened to score the very next inning. We are going to face adversity throughout the season but the main thing is to not give up.”
Sophomore catcher Makayla Caron hit the ball on the nose all day for the Blue Devils belting a double, two singles, and a deep fly to left field and scored a run. Sophomore Mackenzie Alvarado pitched four innings and reached base twice on errors before blasting an RBI double in the last inning.
Bradley had two singles and Lamothe banged a double to left setting up the game-tying run in the fourth inning. Freshman Brooke Morgan and Kori Jones drove in runs with freshman Annie Roux and sophomore Makenzie Caron adding singles to account for the Blue Devils 9 hit attack.
“We played hard but we did strikeout 13 times and you need to put the ball in play in order to give us a chance,” said Marcucio. “We have some fast girls and if we can put the ball in play consistently and put pressure on the defense that will help us out a lot.”
Both teams threatened in the first inning putting two runners on the base paths but the timely hit never came as pitchers Alvarado and Taylor Wagner of Waterbury Career managed to keep the game scoreless.
The Spartans had a runner reach second base in the second inning but the frame was cut short when catcher Makayla Caron chased a foul ball to the backstop and hauled it on for the out.
Waterbury Career finally got on the board in the third inning when an error on an infield throw put the batter at third on a routine groundball. A comebacker to the mound chased home the run before Bradley managed to wrap the leather on a line shot to second.
Alvarado showed her resolve when she surrendered a lead off triple in the fourth only to kick the door closed with a strikeout and two infield groundballs. That was a big momentum lift for the Blue Devils.
Alvarado led off the bottom of the fourth reaching on an error and pulling into third base ahead of a stinging double to left by Lamothe. Junior pinch runner Shai-yonna Durham scored when Morgan lifted a sacrifice fly to center tying the game at 1-1.
“Our third baseman Brooke Morgan played phenomenal,” said Marcucio. “Our catcher Makayla Caron made a huge play on a foul pop up. Our pitcher Mackenzie Alvarado gave up a lead off triple and then stranded the runner without giving up a run. We did some good things. The main thing is we didn’t give up.”
The Spartans began the fifth with a single down the right field line. Two infield throwing errors, a double from Katiana Batista, and a two run single from Ariana Torres did the damage as Waterbury Career put up eight runs, five unearned to take a commanding 9-1 advantage.
Kayla Wisz came on in relief striking out the side and then went three innings allowing four hits with six strikeouts. Alvarado went four innings surrendering seven hits and two walks striking out three.
Plainville kept battling with Roux and Mickayla Caron getting back-to-back singles in the bottom of the fifth. Alvarado got a hold of a pitch and drove it to deep center only to have the Spartans outfielder make a snow cone catch putting an end to the uprising.
Waterbury Career plated two more runs on a couple of more miscues in the field to stretch the advantage at 11-1 but Plainville was not going down without a fight.
Phoebe Gediman and Jones came on as pinch hitters to try and add a spark in the final inning.
Makenzie Caron singled and scored on a double from Alvarado. Makayla Caron singled and scored and a Jones RBI before the Spartans were able to close the door on the uprising.
“We ended the game on a good note scoring two runs in our final at bat,” said Marcucio. “Makayla (Caron) drove the ball real well all day long and had some good at bats. It was a good stepping-stone as we continue to build this team into being a competitor.”
Plainville will have their hands full this week as they take on Bristol Eastern, a team that went 18-2 last year, on Monday in Bristol. On Wednesday, the Blue Devils host Bristol Central before finishing out the week at Hall on Thursday.
PHOTOS by JANELLE MORELLI