The Johnston softball team earned a 3-1 victory over Ponaganset last week to make a statement in the Division II playoff race.
The Panthers were led by freshman pitcher Haley Boudreau in the circle, who got the complete game win, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out 13 batters.
Michelina Irons would knock in Janina Mazzulla to give Johnston the early 1-0 lead and Arianna Velasquez would hit Boudreau home to make it 2-0 in the fifth inning. Hannah Calabro would then send Velasquez home to make it 3-0.
Although Ponaganset would get a run in the sixth, Boudreau and the Johnston defense would escape the jam.
“It’s early in the season so we just try to get better every game. It was a total team effort, my pitcher was a rock today, but she also had a great defense behind her. We didn’t make any errors and we got the timely hits, I thought we played the perfect game,” said Johnston coach David Iannuccilli.
Ponaganset sat ahead of the Panthers in the standings heading into the matchup, but Johnston would pull off the upset and leapfrog the Chieftains to sit in third place in Division II. Boudreau was excited to get the win while also making an impact early in her high school career.
“This was a great win because we were doubted, so this was a great win to prove ourselves to everyone. Every game we’ve become closer as a team, closer as a family, which has made it easier to work. It definitely gets me excited and eager to play, eager to prove myself every game,” Boudreau said.
Iannuccilli added: “She’s solid on the mound and we’re very well-rounded. Everyone picks each other up all the time. (Velasquez also) calls the game, she takes control, she calls the play. It’s like having another coach out there.”
The Panthers improved to 6-2 in league play with the win, trailing just East Greenwich and Mt. Hope by a game each. Taking things one step at a time will be key in making a playoff run, according to Iannuccilli.
“I try to keep the girls grounded and I didn’t want them to look past South Kingstown to this game. I try to keep them grounded and we try to take things one game at a time,’ Iannuccilli said.