LOWELL - Junior Lauren Ramirez pitched a three-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts Monday, lifting top-seeded Dracut to a 6-0 victory over Winchester in the Division 2 North softball title game at Martin Park.
“Lauren is Lauren. She’s overpowering and the defense has been backing her all year,’’ said Dracut coach George Roy. “They play their hearts out behind her. She pitched a heck of a game.’’
The Middies improved to 23-1 overall and have outscored opponents, 30-1, in the postseason. Ramirez said the one loss has taken some of the pressure off the team.
“It’s helping us because you don’t want to go into the postseason undefeated,’’ Ramirez said. “Because then it’s such a shock if you are losing. We lost, we know how it feels and we don’t want it. It just makes us stronger as the season goes on.’’
The game was scoreless through four innings as Dracut left runners in scoring position in the third and fourth innings.
The Sachems threatened in the fifth, getting two base runners as a result of errors, but Dracut’s defense pulled together to end the inning.
The Middies finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth.
Cassie Durand ripped a one-out single and stole second. Shannon Ramirez walked, and Madison Ryan was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Amanda Vallante’s sacrifice fly to left drove in Durand with the game’s first run, and Samantha Durand’s single to left made it 2-0.
“Our pitch selection was a lot better in the last innings than it was in the beginning,’’ Roy said. “We were anxious early on. But we just had better swings and clutch hits in the end.’’
Dracut put the game out of reach with a four-run sixth inning.
Kaleigh Bishop-Kotarba and Cassie Durand singled and scored on a triple by Shannon Ramirez. Ryan walked and came around to score with Ramirez on a single by Vallante for the final margin.