The Creamers waited a long time for this one, 11 long years, since winning back-to-back titles in 2007–08. After four successive loses in the championship game, the Creamers stormed to their third Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Softball League championship by slugging 26 hits to pop the Snaps, 23-4, Tuesday night at Veterans Park.
The top-seeded Creamers backed up their ranking by winning all three games in the double-elimination tournament, to finish at 10-3.
Tuesday night they seized control of the game with eight runs in the first inning, and never looked back. Anne Sullivan tripled to put the first two runs on the board, Becca Gorham scored another run with a sac fly, pitcher Alleyne Hughes and Zöe Nugent added singles, and Kelly Bowse clouted a three-run homer to make it 5-0. Veronika Buckley, Kat deBettencourt, and Sarah Strem stroked three more base hits, and Kendall Robinson smacked a two-run double to close out the first-inning onslaught.
Kelly Marolf doubled to start the Snaps second, but was stranded at third. The Creamers added four more runs in the home half. Sullivan reached on an infield hit, Gorham walked, Nugent batted in Sullivan, Bowse singled, Sam Burns singled to knock in two runs, and Buckley scored Bowse to put the Creamers up by a dozen after two.
In the third, Kendall Robinson hit a two-run homer for the Creamers, and the Snaps turned in a stellar 6-4-3 double play between Lauren Merry, Ashley Tarter, and Jackie Millard.
Kat deBettencourt hit the first of her two doubles to spark the Creamers in the fourth. After Sullivan, Gorham, and Nugent batted in three runs, Robinson scored on an errant throw and the Creamers led 18-0.
Both teams were sharp with their gloves in the fourth. Zöe Nugent made a running grab in left to thwart Lauren Merry, and Anne Sullivan added a fine over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory to retire Kelly Marolf. Not to be outdone, Kat Townes, Hailee McCarthy, and Townes again responded with a skillful trio of Snaps putouts to stop the Creamers rally.
After retiring the Snaps in the top of the fifth, Alleyne Hughes was set to become the first pitcher ever to throw a shutout in a championship game, but the Snaps rejected the 15-run mercy rule and forged on.
Before the night was through, the Creamers added five more runs, three on Anne Sullivan’s double to right in the bottom of the fifth. They also pulled off one of the great defensive plays of the season in the sixth. Ashley Tarter hit the ball up the middle. Creamers shortstop Kelly Bowse ran into shallow center, snagged the ball, pivoted, and shoveled the ball to Sarah Strem at second for one out, and Strem zipped the ball to Anne Sullivan at first for the double play.
Down to their final at-bat, the Snaps finally scored in the seventh. Lauren Merry doubled to lead off, Kurstin Moore doubled to bring her home, and Kelly Marolf singled to score Moore. Elissa Decosta singled; Marolf moved to third and came home on the ensuing throw. The Creamers huddled to slow the momentum and picked up a pair of quick outs on a Hughes K and a pop-up to catcher Sam Burns, but the Snaps weren’t quite done. Summer DeSouza singled to plate Decosta, Hailee McCarthy followed with another base hit, and Melissa Vincent loaded the bases. Jackie Millard then stepped to the plate and hit a sizzler to Kelly Bowse, who fired the ball to first for the final out.
Anne Sullivan had a monster night at the plate for the Creamers with a triple, single, double, and six RBIs; Veronika Buckley had four hits and one RBI; Kendall Robinson, Becca Gorham, Zöe Nugent, Kelly Bowse, and Kat deBettencourt had three hits apiece, and multiple RBIs; and leadoff batter Sarah Strem had three hits and three runs scored. The Snaps banged out 13 hits of their own, with Lauren Merry, Kurstin Moore, Kelly Marolf, Summer DeSouza, and Jackie Millard collecting two each.