By Michael James LeClair
Nashoba Regional’s Brie Donahue spun a beauty on Monday afternoon.
The freshman hurler dominated visiting Quabbin Regional as the Chieftain softball team made their two-game losing streak a thing of the past. Nashoba picked up an 8-0 victory over their Midland League B foe.
For Nashoba, who entered having dropped consecutive games to Groton-Dunstable and Hudson respectively, it improves to 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the league. As for the Panthers, they dip to 2-7 overall and 2-3 in the league.
Donahue, who was making her third start of the season inside the pitcher’s circle for the Chieftains, limited Quabbin to just one hit in a complete game performance. The Panthers mustered three base runners all afternoon including a pair of walks earlier in the ballgame.
“I felt pretty good out there, my teammates really backed me up and played great defense behind me,” said Donahue, a Stow resident. “Our communication was better today than it’s been in the past. This was a big win that we needed after losing our last two games.”
With Nashoba holding an 8-0 lead entering the top of the seventh, Donahue and the Nashoba defense retired the first two hitters of the frame however Quabbin’s Lindsey Giorgi broke up the no-hit bid when she lined a single to center field. Donahue refocused and got the next hitter to strike out swinging to end the contest.
“We wanted to keep the ball away from her and the pitch got too much of the plate. She’s a good hitter and there’s a reason why she leads the league in hitting,” said Nashoba head coach Steve Kendall of Giorgi’s base hit. “I’m very happy with the way Brie pitched today. This is a great sign. She hit her locations for the most part and she did a great job. This was a close 1-0 game until that sixth inning.”
The Nashoba skipper wasn’t lying as his Chieftains needed a big sixth inning to create a cushion. The hosts put up a crooked number to the tune of seven runs to give Donahue some breathing room.
Holding a slim 1-0 lead through five and a half innings, Nashoba batted around in the sixth, sending 11 hitters to the plate and scoring seven times. The Chieftains were also aided by a pair of costly Quabbin defensive errors during the inning.
Quabbin pitcher Mackenzie Kegans did her best to keep the Nashoba bats quiet early on, limiting the home team to three hits over the first three innings. The Chieftains broke through with the game’s first run in the second inning. Kali Cook kicked off the frame with a single to center field before Samantha Maglione popped out to third base. Rachel Farley followed with a single to right center, moving Cook to third base. Farley stole second base two pitches into the at bat of Hannah Gaffney to put a pair in scoring position with one out.
Gaffney grounded out to third base allowing Cook to race home and give the Chieftains an early 1-0 lead.
That was the way things stayed as Donahue and Kegans matched zeros on the scoreboard for the next three and a half innings. Donahue faced just one over the minimum through the first four innings. A one-out walk to Kegans in the second inning was erased when Donahue ended the frame with a double play thanks to a strike em’ out, throw em’ out at second base on a caught stealing attempt. In the fourth inning a leadoff walk turned out to be harmless as Donahue got the next three hitters to pop out to first base, hit into a fielder’s choice and ground out to the shortstop respectively.
In the monster sixth inning the Chieftains offense was highlighted by base hits from Jen Andronico (2-for-2, 2RBI), Bailey Nelson, Gina Hinckley (2-for-3, 2RBI), Maglione (1-for-2, RBI) and Farley (2-for-3, R).
Nashoba finished the game with 10 hits and played flawless defense, not committing an error.
The Chieftains have certainly had their way with Quabbin this season. In the team’s first meeting back on April 15 in Barre, Nashoba dominated, smashing 13 hits while scoring 18 runs in a five inning 18-1 mercy-shortened contest.
The Chieftains didn’t have much time to celebrate their triumph as the team returned to action on Wednesday afternoon at Groton-Dunstable before traveling to North Middlesex Regional on Friday, May 13.