Momentum is merely the plaything of Time. NCDS would wait for no such idle power, but rather would take destiny into its own hands.– Coach Evan Adair
Newton Country Day School Varsity Softball entered the Eastern Independent League Tournament on May 19. Seeded fourth in the “A” Pool, the team faced the #1 EIL team Lexington Christian Academy. NCDS ballplayers had dug deep all season, with come-from behind wins, heartbreaking losses, powerful pitching, and relentless offensive onslaughts. The Champion in them was primed to be unleashed.
Coach and Advanced Placement English teacher Mr. Evan Adair submitted colorful highlights following each game. Details from his highlights capture a hint of the exciting Varsity Softball season, the groundwork for a thrilling EIL Tournament.
Bats and Gloves in Full Form
Opening Game: Southfield, 14-13 W
On April 4, NCDS Varsity Softball won a wild one, 14-13. In a contest of exciting twists and turns, the game began with one of the rarest moments in the history of the sport. Centerfielder A. Torrence ’14 stunned players and fans alike by crushing the first pitch of the game – and the 2012 season – high over the left field fence for a home run. The margin of victory came from L. Richmond ’12 (2B). Known for her solid contact and blistering speed, she stroked a 3-1 offering to deep right-center field in the top of the 6thinning, and never looked back.
Game 4: Bancroft, 7-5 W
April 13: Bats and gloves were in full form for this one, as offense and defense alike contributed with spectacular plays that included stolen bases logged by five different players and two double-plays - from a shoestring catch (V. Husser ’13, LF) and a line drive (Torrence ’14).
Game 7: Berwick, 5-1 W
April 28: Varsity Softball traveled to Maine where A. Hawkins ’15 (3B, Pitcher) threw a one-hitter in her first Varsity start and the Newton bats came through in the clutch to deliver the victory.
Game 8: LCA, 5-4 W in 8 innings
April 30: Co-Captain M. Rocha ’12 struck out a career-high 15 batters and went the distance to record her second win of the season. With leads lost and regained multiple times, the game went to extra innings. Both pitchers had settled. Clutch at-bats would win the day. Enter Torrence ’14 who worked the count to 3-1 then lined a single to centerfield. She stole second on the next pitch, but seemed destined to stay there as LCA pitching came up with two big outs. But Husser ’13 would not go down without a fight. She rocketed a pitch into right field and Torrence sped around the bases to score the go ahead run. Rocha made quick work of LCA in the bottom of the 8thretiring the side in order. After 2 ½ hours of intense softball NCDS walked off victorious.
Game 10: Portsmouth Abbey, 14-3 W
May 4: Defending Champion PA entered sporting a 7-1 record, but could not muster a defense against a relentless NCDS offensive onslaught. The excitement surrounding the plays was inspiring. Responding in kind, Newton scored four runs in the 5th inning and four in the 6th. In all, Newton recorded 14 runs on 20 hits against a team that had been undefeated in the EIL.
Stats leap off the page: Torrence ’14 (5-5 with 4 RBI) leads the EIL in batting average. Hawkins ’15 (4-4 with 5 runs scored, 3 RBI and 2 stolen bases) leads the team in runs and RBI. Rocha ’12 now sports a nifty 2.90 ERA and an astonishing 42 strikeouts against just 8 walks.
Game 12: Wheeler Farms, 12-9 W
May 18: The top hitters reached base at will and ran with abandon. Torrence ’14 torched Wheeler pitching for 4 RBA on 3 doubles. J. Jackson ’15 (2B) scored twice. With the bases juiced in the 5th and the score tied 7-7, S. Spellman ’15 (OF) blasted a 1-1 offering up the middle to score two and give Newton a lead they would not relinquish. Newton (7-5) looks primed to make a run at the EIL Tournament Championship tomorrow.
EIL Tournament: Saturday, May 19, Semifinal Game:Newtonvs. LCA
Varsity Softball played round 1 of the EIL Tournament and beat LCA in a 9-inning thriller, 11-7, advancing to the Tournament Finals against Dana Hall. Rocha ’12 went the distance, striking out 11 and vanquishing the regular-season champs for the second time this year.
The 1-2 combo of Rocha and Richmond’12 led off the game with back-to-back hits. But LCA pitching bore down and retired the side to strand the Newton threat. Then, in the bottom frame, LCA launched a 2-run assault to capture the early momentum. But momentum, as we stressed all year, is merely the plaything of Time. NCDS would wait for no such idle power, but rather would take destiny into its own hands.
In the top of the 2nd, Husser ’13 singled, M. K. Tuomey ’14 (1B, OF) walked, and C. Ebben ’13 (OF, 3B) launched a double to score Newton’s first run. Catcher S. Englert ’12 worked the count full and scorched the next offering into deep right center for a double to bring in two more runs and giveNewtonthe lead, 3-2.
Rocha settled on the mound and retired the next nine hitters. Meanwhile, with one out in the 4th, Richmond, fouling off pitch after pitch, crushed a fastball over the left field fence. LCA would not give up without a fight. Down 4-2 in the 5th, they made their move. In a matter of moments, the lead was erased. Then the next batter bunted and stole second. One out, runners at 2ndand 3rd, all advantage gone. Rocha dug down deeper than ever before and fired the third strike by the hitter for out number two then induced a weak groundball to Tuomey for the third out.
The lead was gone, but the team breathed a collective sigh of relief. Fittingly, Rocha was to lead off the ensuing inning. She wasted no time, singling on the first pitch and stealing second. She would come around to score courtesy of Husser and give Newton a 5-4 lead.
Rocha easily retired the side in the bottom of the 6th, and LCA matched her effort in the top of the 7th. Once again Rocha would face the middle of the order that had taken her lead in the 5th. Rocha recorded the first out, then allowed a hit. The runner stole second and moved to 3rd on a groundout to short. Every spectator in the Bancroft complex was glued to the main field. Other teams, long since finished, looked on at the improbably imminent Falcon victory. Rocha fired, strike one, strike two. One strike away from reaching the Championship for the first time in this decade, and everyone was on the edge of the seat. But LCA was not done. A swing on a pitch well-outside the strike zone produced a weak flare to right field and the tying run came in to score. Rocha would retire the next hitter, but the chance at victory vanished.
The game moved to extra innings. LCA pitching seized on the opportunity and sent the Newton line up down 1-2-3 in the top of the 8th. Rocha, equally determined, came back to retire the side on just 10 pitches.
In the top of the 9th Newton showed exactly what they were made of. Tuomey started it with a single and moved up on Jackson’s ’15 fielder’s choice. Englert ’12 stepped to the plate and wasted no time. On the first pitch, she rocketed a ball to right, scoring Tuomey and giving Newton the lead. Englert’s fourth hit of the game ignited a Newton rally that would plate six runners before it was over. The rally was capped by Husser’s clutch triple with two outs and the bases loaded. Husser tallied 8 RBI on the day. Newton won 11-7 and advanced to the Finals.
EIL Tournament Final,Newtonvs. Dana Hall: 13-5 W, EIL Champs!
The Championship game could not have been sweeter. Sunburnt and starving, we had only 15 minutes to rest, rehydrate, move our equipment to the other bench, and prepare for a showdown with Dana Hall, fittingly scheduled for high noon. Newton put up a 9-spot in the first two innings as the unstoppable top of Rocha ’12, Richmond’12, and Hawkins ’15 set the tone for a relentless Newton attack. The middle of the order drove them in.
Newton beat rival Dana Hall handily, 13-5, a game that will be remembered for Rocha’s legendary completion of 16 innings of glory and scintillating defense that closed the door. Co-Captain M. Kelly ’12 (SS, P) made one of the most spectacular plays of her four-year career. Racing after a grounder up the middle, Kelly gloved the ball, spun around 360 degrees, and fired to first baseman Torrence ’14 for the out. The crowd thundered its applause.
Finally, after four years of waiting, Rocha induced a weak grounder to Richmond, who threw to first for the final out of a magical championship season. The team mobbed together at homeplate, doused its coach with Gatorade, and lifted the Tournament Trophy high above their heads. This team earned that glory. The girls came together to create a constellation that was luminous and spectacular.
The season comes to a close, but the girls remain champions forever.
Leading Season Stats:
M. Rocha ’12 EIL MVP: 595 strikes thrown, 90 hits, 15 triples
M. Kelly ’12 MVP/EIL All-League: 79 stolen bases, 93 hits, 12 homeruns, 178 strikes thrown
A. Torrence ’14 EIL All-League: .512 leading batting average, 116 hits, 12 homeruns
L. Richmond ’12 EIL Honorable Mention: 95 hits, 12 homeruns
V. Husser ’13 EIL Honorable Mention: 18 doubles
A. Hawkins ’15 103 RBI, 201 strikes thrown