By Dave Dyer
---- — 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.
For Pinkerton, Candace Moore and losing pitcher Sam Hennequin had the only hits. The Astros (2-5) were able to connect, but usually right at Devils. Also, Arsenault got stronger as the game went on, retiring 11 of the last 12 Astros.
“For us, our hitting comes and goes, but we’re so young, you have to expect that,” said Pinkerton coach Terry Bailey.”We didn’t play badly today, but I thought we could have made it closer.”
As to his view on the different-look Blue Devils, Bailey said: “They’re good, but they’re beatable. But I think about every team we play is beatable. I don’t think any (New Hampshire Division 1) team is unbeatable.”
agateHed:Salem 6, Pinkerton 1
agateText:Pinkerton (1): Manchester lf 2-1-0, Phillips c 3-0-0, Fabrizio ss 3-0-0, Hennequin p 3-0-1, Moore 3b 3-0-1, Fitzsimmons 1b 3-0-0, Comeau 2b 2-0-0, Anderson dp 3-0-0, Decosmo dp 3-0-0, Tracey rf 0-0-0. Totals 25-1-2
agateText:Salem (6): Sam Cloutier ss 4-2-3, Moirrissey cf 4-1-1, Latham 3b 4-0-3, O’Brien 1b 4-0-1, Murphy pr 0-0-0, Wallace c 3-0-1, Bickford pr 0-1-0, Lovett ph 1-0-0, Se. Cloutier dp 3-0-1, Rastello 2b 3-1-2, Williams lf 3-1-1, Davis rf 3-0-0, Arsenault p 0-0-0. Totals 32-6-13
agateText:RBI: S — Sam Cloutier, Morrissey, Latham 2, Rastello, Williams
agateText:WP: Arsenault; LP: Hennequin
agateText:Pinkerton (2-5):1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1
agateText:Salem (6-1): 0 3 0 2 0 1 X — 6