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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
The Wellesley softball team went into their game against Walpole on Thursday afternoon undefeated, but would ultimately leave the field with an ugly, “mercy rule” loss. With the win, Walpole moved to 4-2 on the year, while Wellesley dropped to 3-1.
The top of the first inning was disastrous for the Raiders, putting them in an 8-0 hole from which they were never able to recover. Almost all of Walpole’s hitters were contributing, and the inning only ended when Jenny Van Zandt made a very difficult, bobbling catch in right field that stranded a couple of Walpole runners.
From there, Walpole pitcher Katie Lynch shut the door, getting a ton of clutch outs whenever Wellesley threatened with runners on base. After the game, Walpole coach Rachael Sprague singled out the relationship between Lynch and her catcher, who was calling pitches for the first time.
“I was really impressed with our pitcher today, Katie Lynch. She’s a rookie on our team, even though she’s a sophomore. And our catcher has been calling pitches for the first time, even though she’s a senior captain. She’s taken that on and they’re working really well together - they’re starting to hit a groove and I just thought that they worked really well together. They were getting outs and we held them every inning.”
Walpole’s fielding was also notably good, with Jordan Larkin at one point in the 4th inning throwing out a runner at first base on a ground ball that was hit well into right field.
Still, in the loss, there were good things from Wellesley. While coach Emily Hunt made no excuses for the result, she did point out that her starting pitcher was playing through a back injury and that after they stopped the bleeding in the first inning, they kept fighting and never got down on themselves.
“Today was obviously a tough one, but we were facing a very strong Walpole team that we knew would come out firing, so we knew they would come out and hit the ball and make all the plays. They did, and we didn’t,” Coach Hunt acknowledged.
“We did not get off to a good start, so right from the beginning, we were digging ourselves out of a hole, made a few errors in the first inning, went down 8-0 after one, and then we were just chasing the whole way. And it was just too big of a hole. Overall, offensively, we didn’t really do anything. We were making contact, but just hitting it right at people.”
But even in an offensive drought, the team’s morale never faltered - something Hunt was proud of.
“I think the team showed some good battle, they didn’t give up, they were supportive and positive, even though we were down by a big margin,” said the coach. “Sarah Farnsworth, our pitcher, who is dealing with a back injury, was able to battle through and make it through the next four innings, only giving up four runs from there, and then our freshman stud, Katie Osborne, came in to pitch the last out.”