Catie Powderly (16) turns on a fastball and rips a single to center. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Riding high following a 15-0 victory against Weymouth on Friday, the Walpole High School varsity softball team looked for their third consecutive win as the Timberwolves (7-2) rolled into Needham on Monday afternoon to take on the Rockets (4-5).
Needham's bats got right to work in the bottom of the first inning. Emma Ferrara led off the game with a walk followed by a single up the middle by Maddie Baker. Veronica Hulbert reached on an error in left field that plated Ferrara to give Needham a 1-0 lead. With runners at second and third, Cristina Perez grounded out to second base, which allowed Baker to run home with the game's second run. Walpole pitcher Lauren Lynch worked her way out of any further damage by inducing a pop-up to second and an inning-ending groundout back to the mound as Needham took a 2-0 lead into the second.
With the game still 2-0 in favor of Needham in the bottom of the fourth, Needham seemed destined to add to its lead when Perez, Cece Wekstein and Mackenzie Kraft all drew walks to begin the inning. Lynch battled back, however, striking out Julia Cote and Sarah Deroian before getting Emma Chang to line-out to right to end the inning.
Still 2-0 in the top of the sixth, Walpole's bats were finally able to do some damage to Needham starter Cece Wekstein as Jordan Larkin led off the inning with a walk before stealing second. Larkin would later advance to third on a fly-out to center by Catie Powderly and then come in to score on an RBI groundout by Brookie Arena as Walpole trimmed the deficit to 2-1 after five-and-a-half.
Lynch struck out a pair mixed around a pop-up to short in the home half of the sixth as Walpole entered their final at-bats down just a single run. Wekstein came back out for the top of the seventh looking to cap off the complete game and close out the win. Ella Thomsen led off the inning with a single to center. Ashley King drew a walk, followed by a bunt single by Sammi Kearns to load the bases. Abby Kearns then smacked a single to left to score Thomsen and tie the game at two. Following a throw home on a fielder's choice to make it one out in the inning, Jordan Larkin and Catie Powderly cracked back-to-back RBI singles to center to plate a pair of runs and give Walpole a 4-2 lead. A wild pitch to the backstop two batters later allowed Sammi Kearns to come home with Walpole's fifth run. The same at-bat, Ariana Kreuzer singled to left plate both Abbi Kearns and Larkin to make it a 7-2 game. Ella Thomsen came up for the second time in the inning and added to the rally with an RBI groundout to first to plate Powderly and make it a commanding 8-2 lead for Walpole heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Lynch made quick work of the Rockets in the bottom of the frame, striking out a pair mixed around a pop to short as Walpole completed the comeback 8-2 win. Lynch finished the day with 11 strikeouts and allowed just two hits.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.