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Cards Tip Jacks In Wild Affair

Windsor — What a difference a year makes.

Last spring Stevens, behind the pitching of Alyssa Nichols, and Windsor, bolstered by the hurling of Katelyn Curtis, reached the softball finals in their respective state championship games. However, graduation came and off to college the two girls went, leaving both schools trying to figure out what to do after losing their four-year starting pitchers.

Consequently, it was not surprising that when the two teams met yesterday, their affair featured plenty of runs.

The visiting Cardinals ended with the most in a 10-8 victory.

“We have to play different,” Stevens coach Missy Nichols said.

Stevens started Tori Maslan yesterday, Windsor countered with Ashlee Bly, and both girls did a credible job. Maslan took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, while Bly settled down after a shaky start.

“We just have to start our games now in the second inning,” said Windsor coach Phil Hathorn, making reference to a loss last week to Springfield and yesterday’s effort, in which both games began with the Yellowjackets in a 5-0 hole.

To the hosts credit, Windsor had worked its way back to a 7-7 tie by the time Stevens came to bat in the top of the seventh inning.

Bly, who would end up throwing 141 pitches, got herself in an early jam in that last inning with a walk. After she got a strikeout, a fly to the outfield was dropped. The error proved costly; instead of posting a second out, Stevens kept batting with a walk to Alexis Melcher and a Jenna Deschaine groundout. Gabby Cutts followed with a three-run double that would eventually be the difference in the game.

The Cardinals’ coach pondered taking Maslan out in the bottom of the seventh — Maslan would finish with 112 pitches — and bringing in Danielle Tenney, but Tenney is a slick-fielding shortstop and Nichols wanted the defense tight.

She stuck with Maslan. That proved to work out just fine, but if not for a catch in center field by Melcher, things might have turned out differently. The first and third batters for Windsor both singled, but the second batter, Haley Wood, was denied a base hit, or more, by a reaching-to-the-shoetops catch by Melcher.

With runners at first and third, Windsor got the second out on an infield grounder. Maslan saved her final spurt of energy left for a called third strike to end the game.

“We’ve got a lot of new kids, and we showed that we can come back,” said Hathorn. “I think we can build on that.”

It was the first win for Stevens following an season-opening loss to Newport. Windsor is 1-2, its win coming against Woodstock.

Bly had a rough start, allowing five runs in the first two innings, but the Windsor pitcher held up well. Back-to-back singles from Melcher and Tenney, three hit batters and a couple of wild pitches brought home Stevens’ first two runs. An Abby Rouillard single and an infield out plated two more. The Cards added an unearned run in the second, and with Maslan throwing no-hit ball through four frames, Windsor looked to be in trouble.

The Jacks bounced back with a five-run fifth, a bases-clearing triple from Wood serving as the big blow. Stevens scored single runs in the fifth and sixth, and Windsor got two to tie the game in the sixth, Katey Comstock and Mariah Marsh driving in the runs.

Melcher, Tenney and Rouillard all had two hits for Stevens, while Comstock had a pair of singles for the Jacks.

Both teams play again tomorrow as Stevens hosts Mascoma and Windsor goes to Bellows Falls.