AMESBURY — This round went to Amesbury, which is apparently back on track.
In a battle of two of the premier Cape Ann League softball programs, the host Indians — who were just 9-11 last year — subdued North Reading 5-2 in what has become a terrific rivalry over the years.
The game matched two of the winningest coaches in the state, Amesbury's Chris Perry and North Reading's Rusty Russell, both of whom are in their 26th year of coaching and have combined for nearly 900 wins between them.
Perry (475-82) has been blessed with great pitchers over the years and he may have another one in sophomore Carolina Merrill, who held the Hornets to just five hits and only struggled in North Reading's two-run fifth inning. She raised her record, as well as the team's, to 4-0.
"She's a good one and they look very good again," said Russell, who is 397-171 for his career. "But I've really never known them when they're not good."
Leading the Indians, who have only three seniors on the team, were freshman shortstop Amanda Shell (2 for 3, two runs scored) and sophomore Cassandra Schultz (2 for 2 with three RBIs).
"We're looking pretty good but it's so early it's hard to tell how good we are," said Perry.
For the Hornets (2-2), who also have just three seniors, sophomore Meghan Riley was 2 for 2 and scored a run and freshman Jenn Castro was 1 for 2 with a run scored.
Amesbury 5, North Reading 2
North Reading (2): Venezia lf 4-0-1, Amirault c 4-0-1, McCauley 3b 3-0-0, Morrison ss/1b 3-0-0, Moise p 2-0-0, Reilly 2b 3-0-0, Carney cf 1-0-0, Giddings cf 2-0-0, Eisenhauer 1b 1-0-0, Castro 1b 2-1-1, Brosnan rf 1-0-0, Riley rf 2-1-2. Totals 28-2-5
Amesbury (5): Shell ss 3-2-2, French cf 2-0-1, Kaminski c 2-0-1, Webber 3b 2-1-0, Fatal lf 3-1-1, Leary 1b 1-0-0, Schultz 2b 2-0-2, Valme rf 2-0-0, Merrill p 3-0-0. Totals 21-5-7
RBI: NR — Venezia; A — Schultz 3, Kaminski
WP: Merrill; LP: Moise
North Reading (2-2):0 0 0 0 2 0 0 — 2
Amesbury (4-0):0 2 1 1 1 0 0 — 5