'Cats cannot scratch out hit; Lone run scores on strikeout.


Byline: John Conceison

WORCESTER - There are no easy 1-0 losses, especially when you have a pitcher who hurled her best with runners on base, and the defense plays errorless ball.

So when Lexington scored its run on, of all things, a strikeout in the top of the seventh inning, it couldn't have been more heartbreaking for Gardner, which fell to Kiki Saveriano's no-hit effort in the Division 1 softball state final last night, the Minutemen's third straight 1-0 victory in the tournament.

Saveriano, a 6-foot-1 junior, struck out 16, including the side in the bottom of the seventh to clinch the Lexington's first state title since 1976.

"We ran into a tough pitcher. She was really tough," Gardner coach Howie Klash said. "She's probably the best high school pitcher I've seen in all my years coaching."

The Wildcats, in their second straight state final, finished 21-5. Overshadowed by Saveriano's gem was a gutsy effort by Gardner senior Elyssa Boris, who pitched her best when under pressure.

"You've got to credit Elyssa; she was outstanding," second-year coach Lexington coach Frank Pagliuca said. "She beared down when she had to. These type of games can go either way. She's a great pitcher, and they played some great defense behind her."

The Minutemen's small-ball attack moved runners into scoring position in all but one inning, but Boris and her defense persevered. In that sixth inning, Saveriano led with a single off second baseman Kayla Davis' glove, and after Alyssa Zahka sacrificed, sister Joelle Zahka singled sharply to center, placing runners on second and third with one out, as Joelle took second on the throw home to hold the runner.

But Boris, who finished with eight strikeouts, hurled her way out of the trouble, overpowering Alishia DeFronzo and pinch hitter Laura McConnell on three swinging strikes. She stranded seven runners over the first six innings, six in scoring position.

In the seventh, the Minutemen (24-2) had runners on second and third with one out, partially set...

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