Photo: Julia Rikin rounding the bases during her home run in the season opener vs. Waltham.
A six-run second highlighted by an inside-the-park-homerun from senior slugger Julia Rifkin and solid early season pitching from sophomore Christine MacLeod resulted in a successful opening day for Belmont High Softball as the Marauders defeated visiting Waltham High, 7-4, to start the 2016 campaign on the right foot.
Belmont’s bats took advantage of somewhat soft pitching from the Hawks’ in the second frame as Belmont batted through the line up on five hits and two walks including a team “cycle” – two singles Sofia Cellucci, Irini Nikolaidis), a double (Meghan Ferraro), triple (Lia Muckjian) and the Rifkin homer.
[Belmont split the next two games after the opening victory, losing to Stoneham 2-1 and a 6-2 win over Melrose to improve to 2-1 when they take on Wilmington at home Wednesday, April 20 at 10 a.m.]
“On the whole I think it was a great team win for our first game out,” said Stacie Marino, the team’s former head coach who was filling in for newly-installed manager (and one time Belmont High softball standout) Melissa O’Connor, who accepted the position just a few days before the start of the season but was out with an injury.
Helping her own cause, MacLeod (1-2 with two runs) scored the final Belmont run on Ferraro’s second hit of the game (a single) in the bottom of the sixth. On the mound, MacLeod collected four strikeouts and was ahead on the count on most of the batters although a number of Waltham’s hits came with two strikes.
“I feel that the umpire was squeezing the pitchers a little bit and it was getting into my head, but that’s all right,” said MacLeod who will be the lead arm for the Marauders this season.
“It’s the first game and I’m trying to get the kinks out. I felt good but I could have done a little bit better. But we won so that’s OK,” she said.