AMESBURY — Amesbury has long been the gold standard for softball in the area, and among its many incredible feats on its way to winning the Division 4 state championship last year was its dominance of a strong Cape Ann League conference.
There was one game during that 2022 campaign, however, that gave it some trouble: Triton.
Flashback to that late-season contest, and Triton nearly tied it in the seventh inning in what ended up being a hard-fought, 2-1, defeat. The Vikings used that performance, nearly beating an eventualy state champion, to fuel their own run to the Division 3 quarterfinals.
And apparently they’re still using it.
On a blustery Monday afternoon, sophomore Emma Penniman tossed a complete-game gem, striking out nine and more-impressively shutting out a championship lineup to lead Triton to a 2-0 victory over Amesbury. She surrendered only two hits, walked just three and helped the Vikings (10-1) take down “CAL Goliath” to earn the program’s first win over the Red Hawks since 2019.
“It means a lot,” said Penniman. “We came really close last year, and we’ve kind of been riding on that since that game to beat them. So it was really exciting for us. I was definitely nervous.”
The story of the game: Triton’s two runs came off three Amesbury errors, while the Vikings made no errors all day.
Skylar Colburn led off the top of the second with a single, and was courtesy-run for by Andrea Boyle. Penniman then drew a walk, but Amesbury (8-3) starter Izzy Levasseur responded with two strikouts. The Red Hawks looked like they were going to get out of the inning on a groundout, but an error allowed Boyle to score and made it 1-0.
“It’s very exciting for us,” said Triton junior Kyla Story, who had one of her team’s three hits on the day. “We came close last year, but this year we were definitely looking forward to this game, and next Monday (when the two teams play again). We’re going to come out with the same energy and see what we can do.”
The one run proved to be enough for Penniman, but the Vikings added some crucial insurance in the seventh.
With one out, Jillian Guisto — who hit her first career home run in Sunday’s win over Pentucket — lifted a popup that was dropped. A groundout advanced her to second, and with two outs, freshman Ava Johnson stepped up and lifted another popup that was again dropped and allowed Guisto to score.
Levasseur, a junior, pitched another great game for the Red Hawks. Of course, both of her runs were unearned, and she struck out seven while holding a strong Viking offense to just three hits with only two walks.
“The mistakes killed us,” said Amesbury coach Emily Crannell. “Izzy pitched a great game, I mean we couldn’t have asked for a better game from her. It’s just we made mistakes in the field and we didn’t hit, we didn’t get on base. So, two things you need to do well to win a game.”
Meanwhile, Penniman was lights out in the other dugout.
“She’s the best pitcher in the league, hands down,” said Triton coach Alan Noyes.
And on Monday, she got a perfect game behind her from her defense. Story in particular made a handful of nice plays at shortstop, and centerfielder Izzy Oldini battled the strong wind to make a couple of running catches that were more difficult than they should have been with the elements.
The result: A statement wins for the Vikings.
“They’re happy,” said Noyes. “We haven’t beaten them since 2019 when nobody on the team was here, not even me. But it was a good game. I’m glad we played well defensively, and I’ve said all year that if we play well defensively, we’ll be right there.”
Triton 2, Amesbury 0
Triton (2): Grace Romine 3b 4-0-0, Izzy Oldoni cf 3-0-0, Kyla Story ss 3-0-1, Skylar Colburn c 3-0-1, Andrea Boyle pr 0-1-0, Emma Penniman p 1-0-0, Mallory Johnson rf 3-0-0, Jillian Guisto 1b 3-1-1, Maddie January pr 0-0-0, Reghan Haley lf 2-0-0, Haleigh Harris ph 1-0-0, Ava Johnson 2b 3-0-0. Totals 26-2-3
Amesbury (0): Cali Catarius ss 3-0-0, Lauren Celia cf 2-0-0, Izzy Levasseur p 2-0-1, Ella DeLisle c 3-0-0, Lexi LeBlanc 3b 3-0-0, Rose Franey 1b 3-0-0, Alex Donnell lf 2-0-1, Jordan Bennett 2b 2-0-0, Charlotte Costigan rf 2-0-0. Totals 22-0-2
WP: Penniman (7 IP, 0 ER, 9 Ks); LP: Levasseur (7 IP, 0 ER, 7 Ks)
Triton (10-1): 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 — 2
Amesbury (8-3): 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0