By Dave Dyer
---- — METHUEN — Perhaps no one was happier to be playing in the Methuen Tournament yesterday afternoon than Methuen pitcher Chrissy Scionti.
It sure beat playing in the rain Friday, when the Rangers and Whittier sloshed to a 2-2 deadlock before the game was suspended after one inning.
“I hate pitching in the rain, it’s a peeve of mine” said Scionti. “I can’t get a grip on the ball and it’s not fun. I was hoping they’d call it off.”
Under drier conditions yesterday, the talented senior shut down the hard-hitting Wildcats over the last six innings as Methuen (13-6) prevailed 5-2 to advance to today’s 4 p.m. championship game against Amesbury (18-1). Whittier will face Andover in the 2 p.m. consolation game.
“It was definitely better today,” said Scionti, who gave up four hits over the final six innings, striking out four without walking a batter.
The Rangers got the only run it needed in the second when Sydney Littlefield reached base on a fielder’s choice, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and then scored on another wild pitch.
Two much-needed insurance runs came across the plate in the fifth when Kelly Blackwell singled home Meghan Murphy and Kat LeFebre for the Rangers’ only two RBIs of the game.
The Wildcats avoided further damage in the inning when Whittier shortstop Cassey Glode ended the inning by starting a nifty if unusual 6-3-5 double play.
Whittier’s best chance to score came in the top of the fifth, which was the only inning yesterday when two batters reached base. But Scionti struck out power hitter Josie Sanchez to end the inning.
Destiny Jordan and Glode were both 2 for 4 for Whittier and hit the ball hard every time at-bat.
“We were a little sluggish — I don’t think we hit the ball as well as we can — but it was a sluggish weekend,” said Methuen coach Jason Smith. “We’ll have to play better tomorrow.
“We know it’s going to be a challenge. But that’s one of the reasons we wanted Amesbury back in the tournament. We want to be playing well against a good team going into the tournament.”
And while winning the tournament is definitely a priority, said Scionti, “I think it’s more important that we finish 14-6 and get a high seed going into the tournament.”
agateHed:Methuen 5, Whittier 2
agateText:Whittier (2): Jordan 3b 4-1-2, Riley p 4-1-1, Glode ss 4-0-2, Ortiz 2b 3-0-1, Sanchez 1b 3-0-0, Gallagher dp 2-0-0, Moszka c 2-0-1, Boutin cf 3-0-0, Zaino lf 2-0-1, Wilson ph 1-0-0, Martin rf 0-0-0, Faranna rf 0-0-0. Totals 28-2-8
agateText:Methuen (5): Conway dp 3-1-1, Murphy rf 2-1-0, LeFebre c 2-2-0, Blackwell 3b 3-0-1, Forgetta 2b 3-0-0, Correia ss 3-0-1, McLaughlin 1b 3-0-1, Littlefield cf 3-1-0, Lemire lf 2-0-0, Scionti p 0-0-0. Totals 24-5- 4
agateText:RBI: W — Ortiz; M — Blackwell 2
agateText:WP: Scionti; LP: Riley
agateText:Whittier (12-7): 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 2
agateText:Methuen (13-6): 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 — 5