SHEFFIELD -- Opening day greeted players, coaches and spectators with a little bit of everything. The best it had to offer was a no-hitter.
Mount Everett's Alicia Bazonski struck out 13 of 16 McCann Tech batters amid flurries of snow, hail and sleet in gusty conditions, and the Eagles cruised to a 15-0 win in five innings. Her performance came despite her feelings toward pitching in cold weather.
"They didn't really give me a choice. They said suck it up and work through it," she said.
Bazonski may not have felt comfortable until the second inning, but she was spot-on from the start, striking out the side on just 12 pitches. She struck out the side in the second, fourth and fifth innings, too.
Her performance in the second was her best, but she had to wait out a lengthy bottom half of the first to get back into the circle.
The Eagles batted around twice in their first at-bats. The first 10 batters to step to the plate crossed it, and Everett scored 14 times total in the frame. The final runs came on a grand slam from Alex Hoover, who had a three-run triple earlier in the inning.
"Inside, I've been horrible at batting," she said. "[Monday] was like I was outside, I need a chance to prove myself out here. ... This is my senior year, so I need to start out with a big bang."
Hoover, Haley Finn, Bazonski, Sam Hoover and Taylor Garrett each scored twice in the first inning, which saw Everett tally five singles in addition to the triple and grand slam. The Eagles also drew eight walks and Natasha MacLeay was hit by a pitch.
"We hit the ball hard," Everett coach Kurt DeGrenier said. "We hit the ball right away hard, which takes a lot out of the other team."
Once the offensive barrage subsided, Bazonski went back to work. She needed just 13 pitches to retire McCann in order in the second. She had her most trying inning of work in the third.
After Bazonski struck out the leadoff batter, Sam Horn laid down a bunt in front of home plate. Sam Hoover fielded it and made a throw in time, but it wasn't handled and Horn had broken up the bid for a perfect game. Bazonski then struck out Alex Lincoln and induced a ground ball to strand Horn at third. She cruised the rest of the way, striking out five of the final six batters. Sarah Norman was the lone Hornet in the final two innings to put the ball in play. Bazonski handled the grounder with ease.
"It was good practice just being in a game because we've been practicing in the gym most of the time," Bazonski said. "So it was a good start, especially with how we played."
Despite the cold and damp conditions, Bazonski pounded the zone. Only once -- the second inning -- did her strike count not double her ball count. She finished with 66 pitches (46 for strikes) in her five innings of work.
"I think it was just about strikes today because it was cold, and it was hard to warm up when it was like hailing," she said. "So I just worked on throwing strikes."
The Hornets would have been hard-pressed to find a tougher pitcher to open the season against. If nothing else, it gives them a starting point, albeit a low one.
"It can only go up from here," McCann coach Kate Galli said. "First time we've been on a field with an infield and obviously, their pitcher, she's the number one we're going to see. We made some adjustments, tried to put the ball in play.
"They stayed up, they stayed focused, they didn't give up. Those are the positives I'm taking away."
Mount Everett 15, McCann Tech 0 (5 inn.)
McCann Tech 000 00 -- 0 0 7
Mount Everett (14)10 00 -- 15 11 1
Alicia Bazonski and Morgan DeGrenier; Jessica Sunn and Danielle Gibeau.
2B -- ME 1 (DeGrenier)
3B -- ME 1 (A. Hoover)
HR -- ME 1 (A. Hoover)