Lee softball escapes Lenox with 7-6, comeback win

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LENOX — The Lenox and Lee softball teams roster arguably the two youngest cores in Berkshire County and the goal for 2019 has been a simple one — growth.

Since coming together two months ago, these teams have gotten stronger at executing and have built confidence, but most importantly have progressed as a team. That maturation was on display when the Wildcats edged out a 7-6 win over the Millionaires on Thursday.

"It was a competitive game and that's what it is all about," Lenox coach Chris O'Brien said. "These two teams are evenly matched, but it felt good to see the girls fight to the end."

Ashley Cloutier got the scoring started in the top of the first inning with a ground out that scored Kylie Joyce, before Ariana Hall stole home, giving the Wildcats (3-9) an early 2-0 lead.

Camryn O'Dell cut into the lead during the bottom of the frame with a single to left field that scored Anja Doherty. However, Lee's Katelyn Clark, who finished the afternoon with four strikeouts, ended the threat before Lenox (2-12) could tie things up.

After a bumpy first inning, Lenox's Juliana Johansen settled down in the circle, retiring all-three batters she faced in the second. Clark responded with a 1-2-3 inning of her own to send the game to the third with her Wildcats still up 2-1.

Clark helped her cause in the top of the third with an RBI double that scored Hall, pushing the lead to 3-1.

The momentum started to swing in Lenox's favor in the fourth as Hailey Ano, who finished the day with a 2 for 4 performance at the plate, scored Maddie Barenski with a single. Ano would later score on a passed ball, tying the game at three.

In the top of the fifth Olivia Keiderling grounded out to Johansen, but Joyce scampered home to give the visitors a 4-3 lead.

"Their ability to fight back is exactly what we want to see as a coaching staff," Lee coach Chris Joyce said. "They're coming around and playing more as a team every game. They're turning into a family."

If the first four-and-a-half frames were any indication, it wouldn't take long before the Millionaires cooked up an answer.

Claire Lynch started the bottom of the fifth with a single to left field and Johansen knocked her in with a single to right, tying the game at four.

Barenski, the next batter, gave Lenox its first lead of the game with a ground out that scored O'Dell.

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The teams traded runs in the sixth and the Wildcats came to the plate in the seventh still trailing by one.

Joyce got the inning started by crushing a triple to deep right field.

"I just wanted to keep my mind in the game," Joyce said. "I was focused on waiting for that one pitch and I just drove it."

With the tying run at third and three outs to work with, Hall walked to put runners at the corners. Keiderling scored Joyce with a one-out single and Clark knocked her in with a ground out to third, giving the Wildcats the 7-6 lead. Keiderling and Clark powered the Wildcats offense all afternoon as they each had a game-high two runs batted in.

Barenski, the tying run for Lenox, made it to third in the bottom of the seven, but Clark locked in and retired two-straight batters to clinch the win for the road team.

"We wanted this win," Clark said. " We are starting to show we don't fall apart in games like we used to."

"Two months ago it was a couple bad throws here and there," Joyce added while reflecting on Lee's development. "We have grown and are getting the outs that we need. Our focus is to stop the ball and make good throws."

Lee is back on the road today for a 4:30 p.m. game at Putnam, while Lenox hosts Pioneer on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 11 a.m.

———

Lee     201     011     2     —     7     6     4

Lenox     100     221     0     —     6     8     4

Katelyn Clark and Hannah Heath. Juliana Johansen and Paige DiGrigolo. W — Clark. L — Johansen. 2B — Lee 1 (Clark). 3B — Lee 1 (Joyce).

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.

Lenox     100     221     0     —     6     8     4

Katelyn Clark and Hannah Heath. Juliana Johansen and Paige DiGrigolo. W — Clark. L — Johansen. 2B — Lee 1 (Clark). 3B — Lee 1 (Joyce).

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.

Katelyn Clark and Hannah Heath. Juliana Johansen and Paige DiGrigolo. W — Clark. L — Johansen. 2B — Lee 1 (Clark). 3B — Lee 1 (Joyce).

Jake Mendel can be reached at jmendel@berkshireeagle.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.


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