JAY – Jim Lunney was counting but just not out loud.

As his Telstar softball team picked up win after win this season, the longtime coach kept track in his mind but kept mum.

Now the word is out. After a 10-0 win over Jay Wednesday, Telstar has won 32 straight games. It’s a number that Lunney and his Rebels are proud to talk about.

“I held off saying it,” said Lunney. “I wasn’t going to say anything to the girls until we hit 30 because 30 is something. That’s a lot of games to win in a row. So now we’re saying we’ve got 32 and counting.”

The top-ranked Rebels scored five runs in the first two innings and never looked back against third-ranked Jay. The early lead was all sophomore Candace Hall needed to post another shutout.

“It’s pretty nice to already have a lead because you don’t have to worry about people scoring,” said Hall. “If they do, you have security behind you.”

Hall pitched a two-hitter and struck out eight and walked none.

“She throws strikes,” said Lunney. “She threw well. She was in control that way, and they didn’t have too many threats.”

Hall’s cause was bolstered by some fine defense behind her. Whitney Mills made a fine catch of a hard line drive by Betsy Gemelli. Vicki Rice made a sparkling play at short to gun down Desiree Castonguay, and Abby Hutchins made a nifty catch in left. Hall even got into the act on a Tasha Hebert pop-up behind the plate. Telstar catcher Sarah Field made a bid for it, but it bounced off her glove only to be caught by an alert Hall.

“I had a strong defense behind me,” said Hall. “So I wasn’t really worried too much.”

Gemelli had a pair of nice catches at first for Jay (9-4).

The Rebels (13-0) bats scattered nine hits. Hutchins, Josie Reiss and Megan Smith each had a pair while Joseline Belanger drove in two. The defending state champs got some help in the first two innings with four walks.

“It puts teams on their heels when you score early,” said Lunney. “Scoring early is big in any game. It puts a team back, and they might have to change their strategy.”

Jay’s Alexii Smith walked three in the first inning to load the bases. Rice hit a single to right and two more runs scored on a throwing error on the play. In the second, Smith and Reiss each scored on wild pitches.

That’s all Hall needed. After DeMillo singled to lead off the bottom of the first, Jay’s only other baserunner was a Kristen Adams infield hit.

“Sarah (Field) calls my pitches for me,” said Hall. “I was just hoping to do good. I was just trying to keep them in the strike zone.”

Telstar made it 5-0 in the fourth on a Hutchins RBI single. After Hall scored on an error in the fifth, Belanger singled in two and another scored on an error in the seventh.

The Rebels play at Hall-Dale Thursday and then play at Georges Valley Friday for a showdown of the top two teams in Western C.

“It’s going to be hard with three away games in a row,” said Hall. “We should do all right. I can’t wait.”


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