Late Rally Costs Cape Tech Softball Against Rival Upper Cape Tech

by Brad Joyal

BOURNE – It was one of the best, most competitive games the Cape Cod Tech softball team has played this spring. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, the outcome just didn’t go their way.

Cape Tech dropped a 9-8 decision to host Upper Cape Tech when the two Mayflower League rivals squared off Friday afternoon in Bourne.

Despite building a 5-3 lead in the top of the fifth, the Rams rallied for three runs in the bottom half of the frame before a three-run sixth that culminated in a two-run home run by Kerah Roberts, which gave UCT a 9-6 lead.

Although Cape Tech scored twice in the top half of the seventh, Upper Cape pitcher Tasia Lopes dug in with the bases loaded and retired Cape Tech senior Laura Feliz De Jesus with a pop up for the final out of the game.

“That was a really good game,” Cape Tech coach Mike Manley said after the Crusaders record fell to 2-7.

In a season that has included lopsided scores both in favor and against Cape Tech, Friday’s rivalry matchup brought the best out of the Crusaders.

The team fell behind 3-0 in the first inning before rallying to tie the game with three runs of their own in the third. Two runs in the fifth helped Cape Tech briefly take control before Upper Cape Tech answered to regain its lead.

Manley was especially proud of sophomore pitcher Megan Bird, who pounded the strike zone with strikes that allowed her defense to make plenty of plays behind her.

“She did an excellent job today,” the coach said. “She usually starts and I rotate a couple of them in, but she pitched a heck of a game today.”

Senior Mikaela Venuti helped anchor the Crusaders offense by reaching base safely three times. She put the team on the board with an RBI single in the third that scored sophomore Mia Gonsavles and added two walks and a pair of runs.

Feliz De Jesus and senior Micayla Plante also brought home a run apiece during the fifth inning rally.

For Cape Tech, which has seen many of its scores climb into the teens or higher — the team defeated St. John Paul II, 33-19, on April 26 and suffered a 33-21 loss to Bristol Aggie on May 2 — the loss at Upper Cape Tech included a competitive playoff-like atmosphere.

“I think that both teams have an equal skill level on both offense and defense,” said Venuti, a second baseman from Osterville. “I think it was definitely one of our more fun games because we did keep the runs lower and it was more back and forth rather than just one or two innings.”

Manley said the early season has included its ups and downs, both on and off the field. The team suffered a big loss when senior Amberlis Hidalgo was sidelined due to a pulled muscle in her leg, and a recent powerful storm damaged the Crusaders’ dugout at their home field, leaving the team to shuffle the location of its games.

“We’ve had a lot of turmoil,” Manley said. “We don’t have a dugout — the wind came in and just kind of rolled it over.”

Still, even as adversity strikes, the longtime coach has been pleased with his team’s effort, especially as of late. Manley believes the Crusaders are finally starting to hit their stride.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” the coach said. “We always play better in May as the weather starts to get a little bit warmer. We were in a little bit of a funk, but we’re starting to hit now and they are really getting into it.”