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Lincoln answers Coventry’s challenge, grabs 5-2 win

June 8, 2012

Not only did Lincoln’s Lindsay Mayer strike out a dozen batters en route to a two-hitter on Friday night, but she also socked a double and scored a run to help her team post a 5-2 victory over Coventry in their Division I playoff game at Rhode Island College.

PROVIDENCE — Constant success can be bad for the psyche.
So claimed Lincoln High head coach Dick Ryan after his Lions posted an unusual, come-from-behind 5-2 victory over Coventry in a state Division I Tournament quarterfinal at Rhode Island College late Friday afternoon.
In 12 of its initial 18 contests, Lincoln registered seven or more runs, and six of those were of the 10-run “mercy-rule” variety.
“We needed a game like this, where we were behind and challenged to produce some runs,” he admitted. “We needed to face some adversity. We had won so many games (by lopsided margins), sometimes you can get complacent. You have to give Coventry a lot of credit. They battled.
“Actually, they've given us our two best games all season – 4-0 (on May 23) and 5-2 here,” he added. “That's the first time in 15 games we've been down two (runs), or down at all.”
Actually, Ryan's bunch survived a 3-2 win over Smithfield in its season opener, and notched a close 3-1 decision over Bay View on April 25. Outside of those, the Lions have coasted.
Not surprisingly, junior righty Lindsay Mayer once more played the role of heroine against the pesky Knotty Oakers, hurling a two-hitter (with a mere walk) and whiffing a dozen to lift Lincoln to a perfect 20-0. In the process, she raised her season mark from the circle to 17-0.
She also had plenty of help from her offense. Freshman Adriana Toro went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored, while junior Sarah Albanese finished 2-for-3 and sophomore Casie Beauchemin the same with a run.
Mayer herself closed at 1-for-4 with a double and a run, and her kid sister, freshman Stacy Mayer, went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
With the triumph, Lincoln earned the right to face Toll Gate in a semifinal slated for today at 3 p.m. at RIC's diamond.
Ryan had indicated he had been worried about his Lions being “rusty” with the long layoff they had experienced due to this week's rainstorms. The squad did show glimpses of such, but not enough to blemish its still-perfect spring.
“I thought Linsday Mayer was the old Lindsay,” he noted. “I thought she was tired the last couple of weeks, but the rain actually helped. We had played six games in four days, so we had couple of days we took it pretty easy in practice.
“I could tell she was on (Friday),” he added. “That's the best she's thrown in the last three games. I thought she was solid not only velocity-wise, but also with her location. Her curveball worked well, and so did her changeup. I was very impressed with the way she pitched. I think she's the best player in the state; that's why she's the Gatorade/(Rhode Island Softball) Player of the Year.”
To be fair, Knotty Oakers junior starter Kerrie Deliberis mustered a decent outing as well. She may have allowed her opponent a dozen hits, but she didn't walk a batter and fanned one. She also yielded five runs, but only three of them were earned.
The elder Mayer seemed a bit surprised when junior Tatiana Webb opened the top of the first with an infield single, but she fanned sophomore Rachel Ball and junior Kristin Gallagher before forcing classmate Nicole Bent to ground softly to second.
Mayer, who after her graduation in June 20-13 will study and play softball at the University of Virginia, also struck out the side in the second, though got into a jam in the third.
While facing leadoff batter Deliberis, an umpire called her twice for an illegal pitch – or lifting her right, push-off foot off the ground instead of sliding it. On the fourth delivery, she got Deliberis to pop out to second, but the home-plate ump ruled Deliberis had one more opportunity to enter the batter's box.
On a 3-0 pitch, Mayer walked her, causing senior batterymate Allie Dzialo to request a timeout so she could talk to her hurler. Mayer responded by whiffing sophomore No. 9 hitter Samantha Higgins. Webb, however, immediately slammed a triple down the right-field line to score Deliberis, and Ball plated Webb with a sacrifice bunt to give Coventry (12-9 overall) a 2-0 advantage.
“The ump said she was 'hopping' (to increase velocity), and it may have got into her head a little bit,” Ryan said. “He called two in a row, but I'm not going to complain. She settled down after that.”
It didn't take long for the Lions to answer in the back half of the third; they did so courtesy of a two-out flurry.
Senior Emma Hart drilled a triple to the gap in right-center, and Toro's ground single past diving first baseman Amanda Ritarossi scored Hart easily. Lindsay Mayer then ripped a high fly down the line in left, and the ball clipped senior Erica Ball's glove before falling to the turf.
That allowed Toro to score – and knot the tilt at 2-2.
With one out in the fourth, freshman Alyssa Schermerhorn punched a bloop hit to center, and – with two down – Albanese did the same to short right. Beauchemin's bunt single loaded the bags, and Schermerhorn raced home on a passed ball.
That proved to be the game-winning tally.
Lincoln added another in the fifth when Lindsay Mayer poked a soft, well-placed hit beyond shortstop Webb's reach, then beat the throw to second for the two-bagger. Again with two down, “Sister Stacy” knocked a ground single up the middle to plate Mayer.
It added another insurance run in the sixth. Albanese punched a softly-lined single to left, and Ryan lifted Albanese in favor of sophomore courtesy runner Meredith Walsh. Hart then reached on a fielder's choice bunt (Deliberis threw to third to cut down the lead runner, Walsh), and Toro's third hit delivered Beauchemin.
When asked how he felt about Lincoln taking advantage of some bloop/soft hits, Ryan said, “The thing about my team, we can beat you with homers; in fact, we've had more than a few, but we also can play 'small ball.'
“It's a funny game,” he added. “They caught a lot of the balls we hit hard, and you have to give (Deliberis) credit. We're a better fast-pitch hitting team, but I thought our girls did a good job of waiting on off-speed stuff.”
Amazingly, after Webb's triple in the third, Lindsay Mayer retired 13 straight, including six by strikeout. She also allowed only two fair balls out of the infield.
“I thought our defense played fantastic,” Ryan noted of his club, which didn't err once. “I can't say enough about my right fielder (Toro). Adriana has had 40 hits in 19 games, and she had three more (Friday). I'm mind-boggled by her talent. She also came up with a great catch (in the sixth, when she chased down a foul off Gallagher's bat).
“What hurt us the most was just not playing,” he added. “We need a steady, consistent routine, and we didn't get it because of the weather. I think Lindsay will pitch another great game (today), and I'm looking forward to it.”

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