The Northeast Hurricanes were looking for a way to shake off the cobwebs after their near cross-country journey from Salisbury, MA all the way to Denver, CO. After a 5-5 tie against Team TFS – Elite on Wednesday morning at Tepper Field, the Hurricanes found their offensive groove in a 10-6 victory over the Pacific Coast Predators.
Trying to shake out the funny taste a tie leaves in your mouth, the Hurricanes hit the ground running in the first inning with a two-run home run from Nicole Basil. Northeast would keep its foot on the pedal, though, sending both Autumn Stevens and Penelope Ayotte across the plate, taking a commanding 4-0 lead after one.
“This group really responded well all day,” said head coach Dennis Bruce. “They were aggressive right off the bat, which is what I wanted to see.”
Starting pitcher Raegan Kelly worked quickly in the first couple of frames giving up just one run on two hits. It wasn’t until the Predators loaded the bases twice in the third inning that the game picked up intensity on both sides.
“I always know that I have great teammates behind me,” said Kelley. “When things got a little tight, I kept reminding myself that my team was going to make plays.”
Three runs came across in the third before the final out was recorded, tying the game at four.
Eager to ignite a rebuttal to the Predators’ three runs, Kelly came through with an RBI single of her own as part of a three-run half-inning, giving the lead back to the New Englanders, 7-4.
“Their pitcher did a nice job mixing up inside and outside pitches,” said Kelly. “I just waited for the outside pitch to turn it the other way.”
Pacific Coast added a run in both the fourth and fifth innings. Leading by just one, 7-6, the Hurricanes once again were sparked by Kelly, who delivered a double and came around to score on a monster three-run home run from Autumn Stevens.
“It was the fourth time I had seen that pitcher,” Stevens said. “I was expecting something outside on her first pitch. Fortunately for me, it was exactly where I like it.”
After equaling its largest lead of the game at four, the Hurricanes leaned on Kelly one last time to close out the contest. Bookending her performance with her second 1-2-3 inning, Kelly sealed the victory, 10-6.
On the afternoon Kelly went six full innings, gave up just three earned runs on five hits and struck out seven. She also contributed three hits, including a double, three runs scored, an RBI and two stolen bases. Not too shabby for an incoming high school junior with a 4.0 GPA seeking a major in chemical engineering.
“She’s such a cool customer on and off the field,” said Bruce. “We know we’ll get the best out of here day in and day out.”
The Hurricanes head toward box bracket play Thursday morning with a scheduled matchup against Vision Elite. While a win and a tie were well worth the effort, they know winning that first box bracket game is all too important.
“We desperately want to start off on the right foot,” said Kelly. “I think today definitely gave us the momentum and confidence that we’ll need tomorrow morning.”