Zullo Opens Season with One Hitter

Michelle Zullo tossed a one hit shutout to pace the Everett High softball team to a 16-0 romp over Swampscott last Thursday. Michelle’s line showed her striking out seven and yielding only one walk in the full seven innings.

Everett jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning with a two out rally. Sophomore Janyne Sierra doubled, followed by another double by junior Erin McLaughlin that brought home  Sierra. Senior Nicole Flores stroked a single deep into the outfield, bringing in McLaughlin. A base hit by senior Rachel Pierce moved Nicole to second and she promptly scored on a two bagger by junior Brianna Uga for a 3-0 Everett lead.

The Lady Crimson Tide doubled their advantage in the following frame thanks to a fence clearing, three run blast by McLaughlin. Everett added a solo marker in the third when Pierce singled, stole second, moved to third on a fielder’s choice, and then scored on a ground out.

Everett upped the lead to 8-0 in the fourth when junior Taylor Sweeney singled, moved  to second on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a double by Sierra. Another marker in the fifth, which came across when junior Tori Cyrus reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to third on a single into the outfield by  Zullo, and  scored on a hit by Sweeney, made it a 9-0 affair.

Everett added further to its margin with two more runs in the sixth. Sierra singled and McLaughlin doubled.. Pierce then brought in Sierra with a hit and McLaughlin came home on a ground out.

In the seventh and final frame Everett iced the victory cake with five more markers. Zullo  scored on a base hit by Sierra, and then Flores applied the coup de grace, popping a grand slam homer over the fence.

“Michelle pitched one of the best games up to this point in the season,” said EHS head coach Stacy Poste. “She was in control the entire game and had a no hitter going until the fifth inning.”

The Lady Crimson Tide followed up that triumph the next day with a 13-3 pounding of Marblehead Friday. Zullo once again was immense on the mound, fanning six enemy hitters, walking three, and allowing just three hits in six innings.

Everett moved out to a big lead early in the contest, pushing across six runs.  Uga, Sweeney, Alea Martinelli, Sierra, and McLaughlin all delivered RBI hits in the rally.

Everett added two more tallies in the fourth and three more in the fifth when Sierra delivered a bases loaded double to make it an 11-0 ballgame. The Lady Crimson Tide tacked on two more markers in the sixth and Marblehead finally reached Zullo for three runs in the sixth to account for the 13-3 finale.

The Marblehead runs also brought to an end Michelle’s string of 11 scoreless innings over the two games.

Everett’s third consecutive encounter with a Northeastern Conference rival did not turn out as well however, as Saugus handed the Lady Crimson Tide a 4-1 defeat Monday.

Zullo once again pitched well, fanning four in six innings, while allowing just three hits and two earned runs. However, the Lady Crimson Tide’s bats were silent after a run in the first inning. Martinelli reached first on a bunt and moved to third on an outfield error on a hit by Sierra. Alea then scored on a sacrifice fly by McLaughlin.

However, that would prove to be the extent of the Everett offensive output for the day. Saugus scored thrice in the third and another in the fourth. The Saugus rally in the third was “highlighted” by an unusual call by the umpire in which he  awarded a Saugus hitter a ball for an alleged  10 second rule violation by Zullo. That made the count 3-1 and resulted in a walk by a frustrated Zullo. An error and two hits followed to produce the Saugus runs.

“I believe that third inning would not have happened if the umpire did not call the 10 second rule,” noted Poste. “He never gave Michelle a warning, which was not right.  He got into her head, but sometimes umpires just need to let the kids play.  In four years no one ever has questioned Michelle’s time between pitches.

“We also fell short with the bats,” added the coach. “I sometimes feel the girls play better without days off.”

Pierce and Zullo are the captains for the Lady Crimson Tide this season. “They are the only two seniors who have been with me for all four years,” said Poste. “I have built a strong bond with both and as each game passes, I get sad knowing I will lose them at the end of this year.”

Poste and Company host Lynn English Friday at Glendale. During the vacation week they will entertain Cambridge Tuesday morning and Somerville Thursday morning, both at 10:00.

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