Ports keeps Generals quiet in win
BENNINGTON -- Mount Anthony Union High School (10-0) softball pitcher Baylee Ports was so efficient in her outing on Wednesday, even the Pittsfield coach wasn't sure how many hits she gave up.
"What, they had one more hit than us or something?" said coach Greg Marchbanks. "That was about all that did it. We didn't get the hit, they got the one hit."
In truth, Marchbanks' Generals (9-5) had one more hit than the Patriots on Wednesday afternoon, but Ports worked herself out of every situation she faced to help her team to a 2-1 victory at home.
"I knew that they were good hitters, so I wanted to throw enough strikes, but not so many that it was right down the middle," said Ports, who struck out five while walking only one batter on five hits. "I wanted to get ahead of them and then keep it away and try to make them bite."
Her counterpart, Emily Koldys, also tossed a gem, giving up only four hits with one strikeout and zero walks. She also tossed the last three innings after talking a ball to her right shoulder as she tried to run back to third in the top of the fourth.
"It hit her in the shoulder," Marchbanks said of the play. "[Koldys] did what she needed to do. She put it in play and we played good defense."
The reality of Wednesday's contest was that the Patriots took advantage of their situations with runners in scoring position while the Generals left too many runners stranded at third.
In the first, Pittsfield's Erin Murphy reached on an error and then advanced to third on a single by Aoife Nester, but with Allie Hunt up to plate Murphy was caught too far off the third-base bag and, as MAU catcher Julie Elwell caught a called strike, Elwell stood up and gunned the ball to Makayla Farrara who applied the tag and got Murphy out.
"Julie is an amazing catcher," said MAU coach Katie Contrada. "She can gun down a kid, and that's what you need in a clutch situation. Same with Makayla being able to catch it and lay the tag on. It was an intense play and it definitely shifted momentum towards our team."
Hunt ended up getting on base with a single, pushing Nester to third, but Ports forced Koldys into a groundout to end the inning.
MAU opened by getting its first two runners on base, Kate Goodell and Keira Goodell, but Koldys dug in and got two pop-ups and a strikeout to end the home first with the game still scoreless.
All of MAU's offense came in the second.
Kori Bow led off the bottom of the inning with a triple down the left field line, and was promptly brought home by Lauren Woodcock on a single to make it 1-0.
"Credit to those girls [in the bottom of the order] for getting those hits," Contrada said of her sixth and seventh batters in her order. "The triple then a single, those were huge hits."
After Koldys got the next two batters out, Kate Goodell came up to the plate and brought in Woodcock on a double to make it 2-0.
Pittsfield's next chance to score came in the fourth, as Koldys reached on a walk then advanced around the bases over the next three at bats. With two outs and runners on the corners, though, Koldys was stranded as Ports forced Tiffany Robinson into a pop-up to left field to keep MAU up 2-0.
The Generals finally pushed a run across in the fifth when Nester reached on an error by the outfield, scoring Lauren Carnevale. But on the play, Nester was called out sliding into third in a 50/50 decision.
"The kids know where they are going to throw the ball. Everyone was talking, Makayla was calling for it and everyone was yelling ‘three,'" Contrada said. "The outfielders knew as they picked the ball up they were going three. Then it was boom, boom and out. Or safe. It was a close one."
Ports ended the inning on the next at bat, recording her third strike out of the day.
Koldys, for her part, went 1-2-3 in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to keep the contest close, but Ports struck out two in the sixth in a three up, three down outing, and in the seventh faced only four batters to see out the win.
"What people don't realize is, every pitch I throw [Elwell] calls," Ports said of her catcher. "All of those strikeouts are as much hers as mine. She calls all those pitches, so I just do what she says."
No batter had multiple hits in the game, while Keira Goodell recorded the only stolen base in the contest.
MAU plays next today at home against Burr and Burton Academy.
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