The Everett High softball team asserted its dominance over a pair of Greater Boston League rivals, Somerville and Cambridge, with a pair of convincing victories last week.
Lady Crimson Tide ace hurler Michelle Zullo was immense in both contests, firing a two hitter against Somerville and then serving up a no hitter against Cambridge. Both affairs were called after five innings because of the mercy rule, with Somerville enduring a 16-0 battering and Cambridge suffering a 17-0 beating.
Michelle now is sporting a 2.08 ERA and has fanned 43 enemy batters while yielding only 17 bases on balls in compiling a 5-3 record. Four of her wins have been shutouts with a no hitter and two one hitters.
Zullo scored what would prove to be the game winning run in the Somerville game when she tripled and scored on a ground out in the first inning.
Her teammates then took over in the second frame, posting 11 runs on the scoreboard to break the game wide open. Tori Cyrus got it going when she singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, and then went to third on a passed ball, from where she scored on a hit by Nicole Flores.
Victoria Burges (who was brought up from the JV to pinch hit for Taylor Sweeney who has a thumb injury) was hit by pitch. With runners on first and second, Zullo bunted and got all the way to third on a dead ball error by the Somerville third baseman, allowing Flores and Burges to score. After Alea Martinelli drew a walk, Zullo scored on an error on a hit by Janyne Sierra.
Martinelli tagged up on a sac fly by Erin McLaughlin. With Sierra now on second, Brianna Uga swatted a home run over the left field fence. Cyrus then kept it going, singling up the middle. Flores was hit by a pitch, and Lexie Sowards laid down a nice bunt to bring Cyrus across. By the time the dust had settled, the Lady Crimson Tide were sitting in the driver’s seat with a 12-0 advantage.
Everett added to its bulge in the fifth. Cyrus walked, Flores singled, Sowards walked, and. Burges was hit by pitch, scoring Cyrus. Another walk to Zullo brought in Flores and a base hit by Martinelli knocked in Sowards and Burges.
“It was a cold and rainy day,” said EHS head coach Stacy Poste. “We had people playing in positions they had not played because some girls were away.
“We moved Tori Cyrus from third to behind the plate and she did a tremendous job,” continued the coach. “Tori is the type of player you can put anywhere and she will shine. She had caught Michelle before so we felt comfortable with her being behind the plate knowing what pitches to call and the plays she would have to make.
“Nicole Flores moved from second to third and we had Lexie Sowards playing at second,” added Poste. “ Michelle pitched a great game considering the rain and wet ball she had to deal with. She did not give our defense much chance to play.” Zullo’s final line showed no runs, two hits, nine strikeouts, and just one walk.
Michelle then came back a couple of days later against Cambridge with her no hitter in which she fanned seven and walked three.
Once again her teammates provided plenty of support, beginning with a two-out, six run rally in the opening inning. Sierra opened the floodgates with a home run. McLaughlin doubled, stole third, and scored on a single by Uga.
Brianna then stole second and got to third on a passed ball. Cyrus walked and stole second. A base hit by Flores scored Uga. Cyrus came across thanks to a passed ball. After Sowards drew a walk, Burges singled up the middle, knocking in Flores and Sowards.
Two more Everett runs came across in the second when Sierra singled and McLaughlin belted a roundtripper to make it 8-0. In the third, Flores tripled and scored on a ground out.
The fourth frame saw Everett pile on eight more markers. Sierra walked and stole second. After McLaughlin reached on an error, Uga walked to load ‘em up. Cyrus then singled for two RBI and Flores doubled for another pair of ribbies.
Bases on balls to Zullo and Martinelli reloaded the sacks, and when a fly ball by Sierra was misplayed by the Cambridge centerfielder, Flores and Zullo scored. Base hits by McLaughlin, Uga, and Cyrus brought across Sierra and McLaughlin.
The top hitters for Everett through the first third of the season are McLaughlin, with a .464 average, including seven doubles and two homers for a slugging percentage of .928 to go with 13 RBI, and Sierra, with a .444 BA, three doubles, a triple and a homer for a .740 slugging percentage and 12 RBI.
Although Poste certainly was pleased with her team’s victories, she knows that the principal challenges for her squad against GBL opponents lie ahead.
“Our real tests will come against Malden this Thursday (tomorrow) and then against Medford Tuesday,” said the coach.
Poste and her crew were scheduled to play at Lynn English of the Northeastern Conference yesterday (Tuesday) before they travel to Malden tomorrow and to Medford Tuesday.
They will stay on the road for a return match at Somerville next Thursday before returning home next Friday to host Boston Latin.