2017-04-06 / Obituaries

GAME OF THE WEEK

Vikings Batter Panthers in D-II Softball Opener
By James Merolla


Shannon Ward connects for a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning. The Rogers sophomore also pitched three shutout innings in relief against Johnston. Shannon Ward connects for a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning. The Rogers sophomore also pitched three shutout innings in relief against Johnston. Rogers High School rode the solid pitching of junior Caeli Palmer and sophomore Shannon Ward to a 10-2 softball win over Johnston High on Monday, April 3, in their Division II season-opener at Toppa Field.

“Caeli definitely brings a lot of styles and has so many pitches in her repertoire. Shannon comes in with the fire and heat and keeps the hitters off balance,” head coach Lauren Dunbar said. “Mackenzie Palmer, as a left-handed catcher, frames the pitches well and calls the whole game. She is just awesome at her job.”

It was the start of a new era for the Vikings, who competed in Division III for the past four seasons. Palmer got the start, allowing two runs in four innings before giving way to Ward, who pitched three shutout frames, striking out four. Mackenzie Palmer, only a freshman and Caeli’s younger sister, called a superb game behind the plate, while also going 3-for-3.


The Vikings’ Natalya-Blair Newsome slides into second base as Panthers’ junior shortstop Jordan Moretti snags the high throw. The sophomore Newsome beat Moretti’s sweep tag and later scored in Rogers' five-run sixth. The Vikings’ Natalya-Blair Newsome slides into second base as Panthers’ junior shortstop Jordan Moretti snags the high throw. The sophomore Newsome beat Moretti’s sweep tag and later scored in Rogers' five-run sixth. Mackenzie Palmer got the offense started, lining a single to left field after leading off the first inning. She advanced to second on a passed ball and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Michaela Matthews. Ward, who knocked in four runs on the day, followed with a rocket to the gap in left-center field for an inside-the-park home run and a quick 2-0 lead.

The Vikings expanded the cushion to 4-0 in the bottom of the second when Caeli Palmer was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and a Maeve Byrne bunt, and scored on her sister’s sharp line drive to right.


Freshman MacKenzie Palmer lays down a bunt to move a runner up in the home fifth. The young catcher had singles in each of her other three at bats. Freshman MacKenzie Palmer lays down a bunt to move a runner up in the home fifth. The young catcher had singles in each of her other three at bats. The Vikings ran into trouble in the top of the third when Caeli Palmer gave up a long triple to sophomore center-fielder Samantha Febus. Madison Plouffe, the Panthers’ junior starting pitcher, then singled in Febus for her team’s first run. A sacrifice bunt sent Plouffe to second, where junior Lauren Civetti singled her home, making it 4-2.

In the bottom of the fifth, freshman Shea Milburn reached on an infield hit and then advanced on a swinging bunt and a passed ball. She scored on a single by Matthews (two hits), giving the Vikings a 5-2 lead.

Ward relieved Palmer in the fifth and retired the side in order. Plouffe was not so fortunate. In the sixth, she surrendered hits to Lilly Bestoso, Margaret Turner, Ward, Mackenzie Palmer and Milburn as the Vikings broke the game open with five runs.

The Vikings will travel to play Juanita Sanchez Complex on Thursday, April 6, for a 4:30 p.m. start, before returning to Toppa Field against island rival Middletown on Monday, April 10, at 4 p.m.

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