Duggan Buckles Down on Rebel Offense in Softball Loss


First basemen makes the out at first

Aurora Hebner

Walpole first baseman makes an out at first.
Walpole softball suffered a tough loss to Norwood on Friday, May 6.  Norwood’s starting pitcher, senior Lauren Duggan, was hard competition for the Rebels as she is one of the top hurlers in the state.  In the winter season, Duggan competed for Norwood High Indoor Track Team and threw the shot put 40 feet 11 inches to be the New England Champion in that event. Meanwhile, Walpole doesn’t even have a 30 foot thrower. Being five feet above anyone on the top ten list of throwers at the Bay State Conference in 2011, Duggan is clearly in possession of a bionic arm. Although Walpole did not score against the dominant superhuman that is Lauren Duggan, they made fantastic plays on defense and held Norwood to two runs.
Freshman Mehron Hoag walked the Mustangs lead off hitter, Captain Ali Maloof, who then stole second base.  Maloof advanced to third on a bunt which was quickly fielded by senior Captain Kelsey Cosby who quickly fired to first for the out.  Norwood got their first run as Maloof tagged up on a pop fly to center field, caught by sophomore Lauren Bodin. Sophomore Bridget Nicholson ended the half inning catching a line drive.  As expected, Duggan came into the game ready to win and struck out Walpole’s first two batters and finished off the inning by getting junior Captain Katie Cavaca to ground out.
Determined to hold Norwood to one run, the Rebels went into the second inning with their heads in the game and focused on their defensive skills.  Sophomore Jessica Cochrane and junior Courtney Scully fielded grounders to get the first two outs and with one runner on base, Hoag struck out their next batter for the third out.  The Rebels started out the half inning with back to back strike outs by  Cochrane and senior Captain Tori Richardson, but Bodin brought hope to the team with a double to center field. The inning unfortunately ended when designated hitter, sophomore Jenelle Caskie, got out on a bunt, stranding Bodin and  leaving Walpole scoreless.
The top of the third was a fast half inning, with one strike out, a pop-up and a grounder.  Sophomore Brittany McGraw led off for the Rebels, striking out to Duggan.  Sophomore Samantha McChesney hit a grounder to first base and was tagged by Norwood’s first baseman for Walpole’s second out.  Cosby then struck out on a debatable called strike which caused an uproar from the Walpole bench and bleachers.
Norwood started off the fourth inning with a base hit, but the runner was then caught stealing at second when catcher, junior Katie Cavaca, fired the ball to shortstop Bridget Nicholson for the first out.  Tori Richardson finished off the half inning catching two pop flies.  Bridget Nicholson led off for Walpole with a bunt and got on base; she later stole second and third.  Determined to not allow Nicholson to score, superhuman Lauren Duggan struck out Walpole’s next three batters.
Hoag started off the fifth inning with a strike out followed by routine pop ups to center field and second base.  Bodin continued her success with a walk, reaching base in her first two plate appearances.  As she did in the second inning, Caskie once again attempted a bunt which was popped up right to Norwood’s catcher who made the first out.  Duggan ended the inning with subsequential strike outs to senior Becca Lengel and sophomore Samantha McChesney.
With one out, Norwood’s Maloof once again got on base with a walk in the sixth inning and scored Norwood’s second run. Despite the setback of now being down two, the Rebels pulled through as Jessica Cochrane fired a grounder hit to third base over to Kelsey Cosby at first base for the second out, and Lauren Bodin caught yet another pop fly in center field.  Walpole was then shut down by the Mustangs infield as Cosby, Nicholson, and Cavaca all hit grounders which were fielded quickly and thrown over to first to promptly end the inning.
The seventh inning was difficult for the Rebels, as the Mustangs got three base hits in a row, but Richardson, Nicholson, and Cochrane all did their part in ending the half inning without letting in any runs.  Cochrane led off for the Rebels in the bottom of the seventh and like many others hitting for Walpole on Friday, hit a foul off of Duggan, but unlike the others, Cochrane’s foul ball bounced in an East Street resident’s yard and broke their front window. After momentarily easing the tension among the teams, Cochrane was out on a pop fly caught by Norwood’s left fielder. Richardson then hit a grounder into right field which was swiftly thrown to first for the second out.  With Walpole’s hopes as low as the home plate umpire’s strike zone, Lauren Bodin kept the team alive with a grounder into center field. Jenelle Caskie also brought optimism to Walpole fans with a single. On a wild pitch to Becca Lengel, both Bodin and Caskie advanced, but Duggan then took all hope away from Walpole, ending the game striking out Lengel.
With a 2-0 loss for Walpole, Norwood continues their season undefeated and the rivalry continues.