Softball Lions able to fend off Eagles, 3-0
Lincoln senior pitcher Lindsay Mayer struck out 12 in Thursday's 3-0 win over Barrington in the Division I playoffs. PHOTO BY ERNEST A. BROWN
LINCOLN â€“ The more things change for the Lincoln High softball team, the more they stay the same.
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Gone are the days when head coach Dick Ryan can sit back and watch his squad pile up the runs and achieve mercy-rule status in the blink of an eye. This yearâ€™s Lincoln edition is conditioned to win low-scoring, fist-clenching affairs that largely hinge on the effectiveness of Lindsay Mayer and her powerful right arm.
Itâ€™s a role that suits the senior and University of Virginia-bound product just fine. Itâ€™s also fair to say that Mayer kept up her end of the bargain on Thursday afternoon in top-seeded Lincolnâ€™s Division I single-elimination contest against No. 16 Barrington.
As usual, Mayer dominated the opposition. As usual, the Lions prevailed, this time over a 3-0 count at Saylesville Elementary Schoolâ€™s Sullivan Field. Mayer struck out 12 and ended up retiring 15 in a row to conclude matters.
â€śLast yearâ€™s team was loaded with offense,â€ť Ryan pointed out. â€śThis yearâ€™s team is mostly defense and Lindsay, whoâ€™s doing her job.â€ť
Added Mayer, â€śI just think [pitching with limited run support] makes me want to throw harder, but outside of pitching, I also focus on my hitting too and try to do the best that I can.â€ť
Now winners of 39 straight contests, Lincoln will continue its quest for a second consecutive state championship this Sunday at home against either No. 8 Chariho or ninth seeded Bay View. The Chargers and Bengals play Saturday, with Sundayâ€™s game serving as the opener for the double-elimination format.
To everyone who thought that a Barrington squad that went 2-14 during the regular season had a snowballâ€™s chance of providing mighty Lincoln with a stern test, it actually happened. Facing a pitcher in the Eaglesâ€™ Josie Gitlin, who relies on guile to flummox hitters, the Lions managed just one hit through three innings, an infield single by Mayer in the bottom of the first.
â€śSome people probably thought that this was going to be a long day for Barrington, but youâ€™ve got to give them credit,â€ť said Ryan.
Lincolnâ€™s bats started to solve Gitlin in the fourth inning. A leadoff double by Adriana Toro was nearly squandered as the next two batters were retired. With the count 3-2 on Stacy Mayer, the catcher roped a sharp single to center field that chased home Toro.
Not wasting any time, Alyssa Schermerhorn jumped all over the first pitch from Gitlin and lined it down the third-base line for a double that placed runners on second and third.
Up stepped junior Lauren Hervieux, who delivered a game-tying single in Mondayâ€™s regular-season finale against Coventry. Against Barrington, the left fielder blooped a high popup just out of the reach of Eagles shortstop Bridget Palm. The well-placed single plated Stacy Mayer and Schermerhorn and extended Lincolnâ€™s advantage to three runs.
â€śSheâ€™s been getting some clutch hits,â€ť noted Ryan about Hervieux. â€śSheâ€™s been doing a good job and has been a pleasant surprise.â€ť
Pitching with the lead for the first time on the day, Lindsay Mayer went about the task of negating any hope of Barrington pulling off what would have been a monumental upset. She finished off the fifth inning with a change-up that Barringtonâ€™s Emma Merlino was tardy on. Mayer again relied on the offspeed pitch to pick up a strikeout, this time coming in the seventh inning.
â€śI said in the dugout that we could win with one run,â€ť said Mayer. â€śAs long as we get something on the board, Iâ€™ll do my best to keep them from scoring.â€ť
Truer words were never spoken by someone who is well-versed in holding the opposing team at bay.