HAVERHILL — Dracut High senior pitcher Ryley White did plenty of legacy leaving during her brilliant varsity career.
White piled up wins, strikeouts and accolades while displaying a consistent brilliance in the circle. In what proved to be her final game in a Middies’ uniform, White turned in another dominant performance.
But Whittier Tech senior pitcher Nicole Verrette was equally dazzling, keeping the Middie hitters off-balance while consistently working the inner half of the plate.
In a classic pitching duel, Whittier Tech scored an unearned run with two down in the bottom of the ninth inning while walking off with a 3-2 victory over Dracut in a Division 2 North softball quarterfinal Monday afternoon.
Down 2-1 heading to the top of seventh, Middie senior catcher Sabrina Morse reached on a dropped third strike and came around to score the tying run on a wild pitch. Dracut stranded runners in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings.
Alyssa Michel came through with the clutch two-out game-winning single for Whittier Tech.
“We scored when we needed to in the seventh to tie it up,” said first-year Dracut head coach Jason Keefe, who guided the Middies to the MVC Division 1 crown. “Every time they scored, we scored. It was back and forth. It was a great game. I wish we went further. But we all had fun. I guess in the end, that’s what it’s all about. All in all, it was a good season.”
Sixth-seeded Dracut finished the season with a 16-6 record. The Middies edged Saugus, 1-0, in eight innings in the first round.
Third-seeded Whittier Tech improved to 18-3.
White, who will attend UMass Lowell on a softball schorlarship, scattered nine hits and notched 13 strikeouts. The hard-throwing right-hander had at least one strikeout in every inning. White had well over 900 strikeouts for her four-year varsity career.
“She’s meant a lot to the program,” said Keefe. “She had a great career. The team feeds off Ryley. We’re going to miss her. We’re going to miss all of our seniors.”
Verrette limited Dracut to four hits, only one of which came in the first seven innings, and registered 13 strikeouts.
Katarina Morse belted a long triple to left field and scored on a wild pitch to give Dracut a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning.
Run-scoring hits by Verrette, in the fourth, and Kyleigh Jo Campbell, in the sixth, put Whittier in front, 2-1.
In the top of the ninth, White blasted a long double to left field that would have been an automatic home run in many fields. But Whittier’s field doesn’t have a fence and the outfielders were playing extremely deep. Dracut hit several long fly balls to left field that were caught.
“It’s a little tough with no fence,” said Keefe. “We probably would have had a couple (homers). But they just played back and made some plays.”
Nadia Saari (double) and Kaleigh Brule had one hit each for Dracut.