Cal-Mum junior shortstop Hannah Anderson was named the sectional tournament MVP after going 3-4 with a triple in each of her first three at bats on Thursday night. Over the three games in the sectional tournament Anderson went a combined 6-10 with six runs scored and five RBI.
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“It just shows how hard she works in the cage and off machines, because it’s not easy to hit the ball over the right fielder’s head,” Cal-Mum manager Dan Dickens said. “The girls look to her for her leadership ability, stuff that doesn’t show up in the box score. That’s the stuff that makes her a special player. Somebody’s going to get a good player when she graduates, that’s for sure.”
Anderson led off in the bottom of the first with a triple and then scored on a passed ball, putting the first run on the board for the Raiders after fighting to get out of the top of the first unscathed.
As expected, senior pitcher Kelsey McMullen opened the game in the circle once again for the Raiders. After inducing a groundout on the leadoff hitter for Cuba-Rushford, McMullen found herself with the bases loaded and just one out. But the veteran was able to record the first of her nine strikeouts and induce another groundout to get out of what would be her most difficult inning.
“I don’t care who you are, how many varsity games you’ve played, you’re going to have nerves,” Dickens said. “I think we were nervous [early in the game]. Kelsey wasn’t in her rhythm yet, but she got better as the game went on. So to get out of [the top of the first] with zero and then get one in the bottom of the first was big.”
McMullen, who was named to the All-Tournament team, settled in during the second by recording two strikeouts and allowing just one baserunner via a walk. The Cal-Mum offense was able to truly take control of the game in the bottom half of the inning when junior catcher Halle Platten and eighth grade catcher Andrea Coyle each got on base with singles. Junior first baseman Emma Hallett then hit an RBI single to bring in a run, and Anderson followed that up with her second triple of the day which brought in two more.
With the four run lead, McMullen was able to dominate. She retired nine of the next eleven batters she faced, including six strikeouts.
“When she’s getting strikeouts, it’s less plays we’ve got to make in the field,” Dickens said. “She had some movement going on the ball and had great location, so the strikeouts are always a bonus from her.”
The senior pitcher was able to help herself out at the plate in the third inning, driving in fellow all-tournament teamer Courtney Flagler with a single to right field. She later scored a run on a wild pitch. In addition to the seven scoreless innings, McMullen went 1-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Platten, another all-tournament team member, finished the game going 4-4 with an RBI.
Cal-Mum (19-2) will go on to play Keshequa in the Class C regional semifinal game on Friday at 5:30 pm at Letchworth.