HARWICH ─ With just a few games left in their regular season, the Monomoy girls softball team is continuing their dominating run with an 11-0 shutout of the St. John Paul II Lions on Thursday in which the Sharks' bats were sharp and Mollie Charest's pitching was near perfect.
Charest allowed just four hits in the seven-inning outing, with only two walks and seven strikeouts. Meanwhile, at bat she went 2-for-4 for the Sharks with one RBI.
The right-handed freshman opened the game by retiring the Lions lead-off batters in quick succession, thanks in part to solid assistance from Sam Barr at first base and Hannah Potter in the outfield.
Monomoy's lead-off hitter Eliza Hawthorne was the first to reach base for the Sharks with a nice single, after which Carlee Tolley executed a bunt to advance Hawthorne and put herself on first. Next up was Emma Thacher, laying down another bunt before coming home on an overthrow.
“Bunting is definitely something that we've been doing better,” said head coach Stacy Yarnall. “I like to play small ball.”
Mackenzie Cardillo then swung into a hit that brought in Karley Marchese, who took her base after being hit by a pitch. She slid home under a dropped ball, capping off a strong opening for the Sharks that gave them what proved to be an unshakable lead that continued to grow with each inning.
Along with Charest's pitching, Sam Barr also shined, smacking back-to-back triples and going 2-for-2 overall with one RBI and four runs scored. Hawthorne went 3-for-5, as did Thacher, with Tolley going 3-for-4.
“It was nice, crisp softball,” Yarnall said. “Sam Barr had a great game, and Mollie did great on the mound.”
On Monday the team faced Rising Tide in a make-up game that saw the Sharks cruise to a 23-1 victory in which Charest fanned 12 and gave up only one run, while at bat Potter and Thacher earned a total of seven RBIs in the league win.
Thacher finished at 4-for-4 with a triple, three runs, and a trio of RBIs, while Potter went 3-for-5 with two runs and four RBIs. Hawthorne also went 3-for-5 with two runs, and Charest went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Yarnall is looking to prepare her team for post-season play, which begins in the next two weeks.
“The girls are off to a good start,” Yarnall said. “Hopefully we can continue in the tournament.”
A potential challenge for the team, Yarnall said, is increasingly tougher competition.
“We're not going to score that many runs in tournament,” she said. “So it's playing smart and keeping their heads in the game. They did a good job [with that] today.”
With tougher competition a tournament reality, Yarnall is working to ensure her Sharks are prepared, making adjustments in games and practices as needed.
“I change it based on the level of competition,” Yarnall said. “I don't want a replay of last year where we were knocked out in the first round. I keep my girls pretty grounded. Even if we go 18-2 we still have to play tournament ball.
Yarnall noted the more skilled teams will get hits off Charest, and will bunt, so it's crucial that her team be ready for that level of play.
“At practice I try to make sure we focus on that, and just keep the bats alive,” Yarnall said. “Every day is different.”
Another chance to advance in the tournament also means more time with her team, something Yarnall appreciates.
“They're just a good bunch of kids,” she said. “I like coaching them.”
At press time, Monomoy's overall record was 16-2 and 10-0 in the Cape and Islands League. They were set to travel to Nantucket on Tuesday, with their final regular season game and Senior Night celebration slated for Friday (May 26) at Potter's Field in Harwich against Sturgis East. Game time is 4 p.m., with senior recognition set for roughly 3:30 p.m.