EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

April 27, 2013

New way, old result

Defense, hitting early keys for Salem

SALEM — It’s a new model, perhaps, but the Salem softball team showed again yesterday morning that it’s still top of the line.

The days of overpowering pitching may be over, but the Blue Devils still boast good pitching, sound defense and plenty of hitting, all of which were in display in a 6-1 victory over Pinkerton.

“That’s who we are right now,” said Salem coach Harold Sachs, whose club improved to 6-1 while bouncing back from its first regular season loss in two years. “I thought we’d be a little more relentless in our lineup hitting the ball, but our defense has been very good, better than I expected.”

Pinkerton’s lone run came in the first inning when Kinsey Manchester led off with a walk, went to second base on a grounder, advanced on a wild pitch and then scored on a rare error.

Beyond that, Salem senior Kaitlyn Arsenault threw a two-hitter, striking out a modest five batters and benefitting from a pair of fine defensive plays, one by shortstop Sam Cloutier and another by third baseman Hannah Latham.

“Coach Sachs always says that defense wins games,” said Latham, who is headed to Eastern Connecticut University next year. “I think that’s our strength, but I think we’re a good hitting team, too.”

Latham and Cloutier led the way offensively with three hits apiece in Salem’s 13-hit attack. Latham had two RBIs while Cloutier scored twice and had an RBI of her own.

Salem scored the only runs it needed in the second when Brittany Wallace led off with a single, Brianna Rastello followed with an RBI triple and both Megan Williams and Cloutier added RBI singles to provide a 3-1 lead.

The Blue Devils added two insurance runs in the fourth with Rachel Morrissey and Latham providing RBIs while Latham knocked in Sam Cloutier, who opened the inning with a double after fouling off five pitches, for the final run in the sixth.

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