Cambridge comeback falls short against Valley
Down five runs even before its first at bat, Cambridge battled throughout the game to even the score, but fell to Valley 8-6.
Gabbie Woods started on the mound for Cambridge, but struggled to find her command. Woods left some balls over the plate and the aggressive Valley hitters capitalized in a big way.
Eleven batters came to the plate and Valley had six hits to plate the five runs to put Cambridge in a early hole.
"We needed a little confidence coming off the week, so putting five up in the first inning definitely put as at ease and we just had to play clean defense," said Valley coach Blake Bochette.
Woods was taken out after 2/3 of an inning and replaced by senior Miranda Seacord. Seacord was strong in relief of Woods, getting the next six hitters out via ground ball, which kept Cambridge in the game throughout that stretch.
"We told her to just keep us in the game and let us keep chipping away," said Cambridge coach Gerald Clifton. "She really kept us in the game and I'm proud of the way she pitched."
While Seacord was keeping the Valley bats at bay, the Cambridge offense slowly but surely inched back into the game. They used some strong situational hitting to drive in three runs over the course of a few innings, cutting the Valley lead to 5-3 after four.
But Valley plated three more runs in the sixth, taking advantage of a pair of walks and two misplayed balls by Cambridge defenders, to take a five-run lead.
Valley had struggled to get hits off Seacord, so getting the ball in play and forcing Cambridge to make plays in the field was key to them coming out on top.
That inning made the difference in the game and showed Valley's ability to fight back even when its opponent is chips away at a lead.
"We've definitely been tested this year, so finally put it together when it mattered and not lose our cool showed a lot," Bochette said.
Cambridge continued to battle to the last out though, plating three in the seventh after three singles in the inning.
Cambridge has had to battle out of many early holes during this season, so being able to come back and make the game close after a pair of five-run deficits showed the team's resiliency.
"Every game has been like this for us. We get down early enough to fight back and we just didn't finish it in the end," Clifton said. "I was proud of their fight back. We still have a chance to make sectionals. We have a couple more games here. We just need to keep fighting and not give up."
Though the big first and sixth innings for Valley were the main cogs in its win, the pitching it received from Hollis Guilianelle had a lot to do with keeping Cambridge's offense off the board. Though Cambridge was putting the ball in play, Guilianelle only allowed three hits in the first six innings.
"She was hitting the outside corner and we just were getting under the ball," Clifton said. "We just weren't getting the ball in play, just letting them get those easy outs. We started to adjust at the end, but it was too little too late."
Though Guilianelle had a strong day on the mound, Rhiannon Darling was one Cambridge hitter who had a good game at the plate. The junior went 3-for-4 with a run batted in and a stolen base. Lexi Woodworth also had a pair of hits for Cambridge.
Three different Valley players had a two-hit game.
Cambridge is back in action Monday against Berlin at home. First pitch is set for 4:15.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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