Heading into the John G. Holland Memorial Softball Tournament without your ace in the circle wasn’t in Classical coach Erica Richard’s game plan, but that’s the position the Rams found themselves in Saturday night in their opening game against five-time defending champion St. Mary’s.
Senior Ivy Martin had been battling some tendonitis in her shoulder the week heading into the tournament and was on the shelf in terms of pitching, but she could still swing a bat. Freshman pitcher Tori Adams, who spent most of the season playing first base, got the call to pitch and together they delivered a deadly one-two punch that would end with an 11-3 win and a spot in the final against Swampscott.
Although Classical lost to the Big Blue, 7-5, in nine innings, the win was the Rams first over the Spartans since the 2009 tournament. They defeated St. Mary’s in a Saturday night opening round game that year as well and went on to win the tournament. In that game, Jenny Garrity, now a junior varsity coach for the Rams, got the call to pitch at the last minute after the intended starter, Katie Cuozzo, became ill.
Martin had a monster game at the plate against the Spartans. She had a two-run double in the first inning, a three-run double in the fourth inning and she walked in the sixth. She was on base five times (double, two walks and twice on hard hit balls to third that were misplayed) against Swampscott. Martin finished the tournament with five RBI and four runs scored (two in each game), earning herself a spot on the all-tournament team along with teammate Alaina Gridley.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to pitch, but I knew we had Tori there. I knew all I could do was help out with the bat. I just had to get line drives and move my team around,” Martin said.
A win over the Spartans meant a lot to Martin.
“St. Mary’s is a really big game for us,” Martin said. “I know my teammates wanted to win it just as badly as I did. There are three seniors on the team and we didn’t’ want to go without beating St. Mary’s once. It was a very good feeling.”
While Martin was getting it done at the plate, Adams was doing the job from the circle.
“I think Tori looked like a senior out there,” Martin said. “She was definitely mentally ready for it and physically ready. She did a great job.”
Adams, who had picked up wins over English and Salem earlier in the week, said she was nervous heading into the St. Mary’s game.
“I just wanted to get it done for the team,” Adams said. “I knew they had my back. I wanted to get it done for Ivy.”
Adams only allowed four hits against the Spartans while striking out five and walking seven. She had a rocky start against Swampscott, spotting the Big Blue five runs in the first inning, but she buckled down and pitched seven scoreless innings before Swampscott got two in the ninth put the game away.
“I just put the strikes in there,” Adams said about regrouping after the tough inning against Swampscott. “If they hit the ball, I knew our fielders were there to back it up. I knew they could do it.”
Adams had been back in the lineup less than a week when she pitched against the Spartans. She was hit in the face by a thrown ball while playing first (her glove had been knocked off by the runner coming down the base path) in a game against Saugus. She missed three weeks with a fracture.
St. Mary’s coach Colleen Newbury was impressed with Adams’ performance.
“She threw strikes. That’s all she needed to do and she did it. We put the ball in play when we could, but she kept it off-speed enough that we couldn’t really hit the ball like we usually do,” Newbury said.