BRANDON — On Monday, the Otter Valley Union High School softball team bounced back from its first loss in four games, a 6-0 setback to Division I title contender Brattleboro on Saturday, to edge another D-I foe, Mount Anthony, 6-5.
The Otters improved to 7-3 and held onto fifth place in D-II. The Patriots, a good defensive team with some strong hitters, dropped to 2-10 as two pitchers combined to allow five hits and eight walks.
After Brattleboro’s Kayla Wood tossed a two-hitter against OV, every Otter reached base on Monday, and sophomore third baseman Brittany Bushey and sophomore shortstop Cortney Poljacik each tripled.
“We only had two hits on Saturday, so it was good to get going,” said Coach Pattie Candon.
And although OV miscues led to two unearned runs off OV sophomore pitcher Taylor Aines (four hits, six walks, five strikeouts), the Otters also made some fine defensive plays, notably senior center fielder Katie Perry’s running over-the-shoulder catch to retire the first batter in the MAU sixth.
“Katie Perry’s catch there in the last inning or so was just unbelievable,” Candon said.
MAU took a 1-0 lead in the first when leadoff hitter Morgan Hewitt walked, stole second, and scored on an error on Kailie Glanovsky’s single.
OV scored two in the bottom of the inning off MAU starter Jenna Crowley. Bushey singled, and consecutive walks to Aines, junior left fielder Meranda Bassette and Perry scored Bushey. Two batters later a wild pitch scored Bassette.
When Crowley walked senior right fielder Kelsey Poljacik to lead off the second, Lacy Parmenter replaced her on the mound and gave up a single to DH Marissa D’Avignon. They moved up on a groundout, but MAU got lucky when Aines scorched a liner to shortstop and the Patriots doubled runner off base. Parmenter (3.1 innings, four hits, three walks, four earned runs) ended up taking the loss, however.
MAU took the lead in the third. Hewitt walked again, and Glanovsky reached on an error. Both scored on Kate Goodell’s double, but Bushey threw out Goodell trying to reach third on the play on an overthrow, with Aines covering.
The Otters tied the score in the bottom of the inning. Perry walked, reached third a wild pitch and a groundout, and scored when senior catcher Chelsea Robbins beat out an infield hit.
The Patriots got a run in the fourth when Aines walked the first two batters. But she bore down to retire the next two batters on ground balls to senior second baseman Mallory Ketcham, with the runners moving up each time and the lead runner scoring on the second.
The Otters took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Kelsey Poljacik walked, and scored easily when Bushey tripled to right center. Bushey scored on an Aines sacrifice fly.
In the fifth, Cortney Poljacik scorched a line-drive triple to right center and scored to make it 6-4 on a throwing error.
Both teams made outstanding plays in the sixth. Perry ran down a deep drive by Makayla Farrara and Robbins grabbed a foul pop, and with Crowley (2.1 innings, one hit, one strikeout, five walks) back on the mound MAU second baseman Glanovsky dove to rob Bushey and left fielder Abbie O’Neill made a running backhanded catch of an Aines drive.
In the seventh, Aines walked Julie Elwell, who moved to third on a bunt and a groundout. With two outs, Glanovsky singled to score Elwell and make it 6-5. Goodell followed with a single that OV misplayed to put runners on second and third.
But Aines got Farrara, the clean-up hitter, to fly out to Perry to end the threat in what Candon called a back-and-forth game. She said Aines settled down once OV started to show life at the plate.
“We put a couple runs across to give her a little bit of comfort,” Candon said. “She’s thrown pretty well all season, but we need to put the bat on the ball a little bit more and get some runs across the plate to support her.”
In all, Candon would like a little more consistency, especially with upcoming games that include Rutland, Brattleboro again, and Springfield, the No. 2 team in D-II. But overall she is happy with a team that relies on younger players.
“We’re up and down. We can be dangerous one day, and another day we’re not as dangerous,” Candon said. “We just seem to lose focus. But I’m pleased with the play I’m getting. I’m starting three sophomores out there.”