NORTH EASTHAM – The Nauset softball team chose the perfect time — and the perfect opponent — to have one of its best performances of the season.
After suffering an extra-innings loss at Barnstable on April 27, Nauset got a little revenge Friday afternoon when it cruised to a 14-2 victory over Barnstable in a five-inning mercy-rule contest.
“When we came into this game, we knew our issue in our last game was hitting, so we had to get our bats on the ball. We definitely did that today,” said Nauset senior Taylor Kmiec, a Wellfleet resident who serves as one of the Warriors’ three captains. “We showed our full potential. It felt really good to come out and win against a team that we lost to in extra innings last time.”
The win snapped a four-game losing skid for Nauset (4-10), which pulled away early after scoring seven runs in the first inning, one in the second and six more in the third. Lily Hay, a junior captain from Wellfleet, led the offensive production with two hits, including a solo home run in the second frame.
Junior Kaylee Davis shut down Barnstable from the pitcher’s circle; she allowed two hits, struck out three batters and surrendered just one run in a complete-game effort.
As happy as he was to see his team perform in the batter’s box, Nauset coach Harold Pini was especially proud with his team’s defense.
“I think it’s the only game we’ve had this year that we didn’t have multiple errors, and the walks were way down,” Pini said. “We played Nantucket on Wednesday and gave up eight walks and nine runs in the first inning — the game was basically over.”
Senior infielder Annabelle Morris, a captain from Brewster, said the errorless outing was “really satisfying” for the team.
“We’ve been trying to minimize the errors that we’ve been making,” Morris said. “This just proves that we can do it and we are all very skilled and can execute our game plan.”
The struggles in the field have been among the growing pains the Warriors have experienced this spring after losing five starters from last year’s 9-4 team to graduation.
Although Nauset is comprised of younger talent this season — including some players that are getting their first taste of varsity softball — the upperclassmen said they’ve been happy with the way the girls have bonded and grown closer as a team, both on and away from the diamond.
“We have really good chemistry, on and off the field,” Hay said. “When we make bad plays, we pick each other up instead of getting down on each other. And when we’re playing well, we support each other and we really focus on the good.”
Hay believes that supportive atmosphere translates to the field.
“Because we’re all such good friends off the field, it keeps the energy on the field just as good,” she said.
After four consecutive losses, the Warriors weren’t going to be picky about the circumstances surrounding their fourth win of the season. However, they did acknowledge there was some extra motivation to upend Barnstable, which came back to erase a deficit and earn a 13-12 win over Nauset in the league rivals’ first meeting.
“We definitely came into this game like, ‘We’re going to beat them,’” Hay said. “This was our game. We really wanted to win.”
It’s moments like Friday’s win that have Pini excited for the future.
“We have a great group of kids and we’ll have a bunch coming back,” the coach said, “So we’re looking forward to that, too.”
Email Brad Joyal at email@example.com.