PETERBOROUGH — Sophomore Lily Mandel did it all for the ConVal softball team in Monday’s 18-1, 4.5-inning blowout over Souhegan in Peterborough.
Mandel got the start in the circle for the Cougars, allowing only one run, which came in the top of the first inning, and cruising through four more scoreless innings after that, allowing just three more baserunners for the remainder of the shortened game.
She also went 2-2 at the plate, with two hard-hit singles, two walks and an RBI.
“There were a few times when I was a little nervous that they were going to get good hits, but that happens during a game and you just go with it,” Mandel said. “But I feel like I had some strong pitches, strong innings, and I finished off each inning strong.”
Most of the Cougars’ runs came from walks — ConVal drew 11 throughout the duration of the game — and errors. Combine that with aggressive baserunning and timely hitting and you have a recipe for success.
ConVal scored its 18 runs on just nine hits.
“We took advantage and did a lot of baserunning, which was very beneficial for us,” said head coach Amanda Hinton. “We have been talking about being more aggressive on the basepaths — some of us are a little timid since we haven’t played ball a lot — so, as a whole team, one of our goals is to be aggressive on the basepath and to look like we’re aggressive even if we’re a little nervous.”
A highlight of the game, Hinton said, was the flawless defensive effort for the Cougars, something the coaching staff has been emphasizing in practice.
With the wind howling like it was Monday, and the ball visibly shifting course any time it was popped up in the air, even the most routine defensive plays suddenly became a challenge.
Junior Julielle Cabana stepped up in left field, making back-to-back impressive catches in the third inning to solidify what already was a great defensive effort for ConVal, much to the appreciation of Mandel in the circle.
“It’s a good thing to know that [the defense is] there,” Mandel said. “You have to put trust in your team and trust that they’re going to get the outs for you.”
“Our outfield really stepped up today,” Hinton said. “We had talked before the game how big of a challenge that was going to be because the wind is really blowing.”
Souhgan took a 1-0 lead after the first inning, but after ConVal drew five walks in a row to start the bottom of the second inning, the Cougars were in command. They scored five runs in the second, six in the third and seven in the fourth to run away with it.
Every Cougar got on base and came around to score at some point during the game.
Morgan Bemont went 2-4 with a pair of singles and three RBI and Mairin Burgess went 2-4 with two singles and an RBI in the rout.
ConVal next visits Souhegan Friday at 4 p.m.