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Northampton softball suffers another tough loss

  • Kristin Gross of Northampton, left, forces out Madison Grande of East Longmeadow on a hit from Mary Edwards Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Kristin Gross of Northampton, left, forces out Madison Grande of East Longmeadow on a hit from Mary Edwards Friday in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kristin Gross of Northampton, left, eyes a throw to second just before Mary Edwards of East Longmeadow stole the base Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Kristin Gross of Northampton, left, eyes a throw to second just before Mary Edwards of East Longmeadow stole the base Friday in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Rachel Sheehan of Northampton hits a single against East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Rachel Sheehan of Northampton hits a single against East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mary Greco of Northampton pitches to East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Mary Greco of Northampton pitches to East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Shannon O'Leary of Northampton hits a single against East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Shannon O'Leary of Northampton hits a single against East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Nadine Harris of Northampton, right, makes it safely to second on a hit from Emilie Baldwin as McKenzie Lambert of East Longmeadow takes the throw Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Nadine Harris of Northampton, right, makes it safely to second on a hit from Emilie Baldwin as McKenzie Lambert of East Longmeadow takes the throw Friday in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kristin Gross of Northampton, left, fields the ball as Mary Edwards of East Longmeadow steals second Friday in Northampton. Umpire Dave Kennedy watches the play.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Kristin Gross of Northampton, left, fields the ball as Mary Edwards of East Longmeadow steals second Friday in Northampton. Umpire Dave Kennedy watches the play.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Northampton catcher Maya Kerstetter, right, eyes the throw as Mary Edwards of East Longmeadow approaches home on a hit from Jill Morrisino Friday in Northampton. Edwards was safe.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Northampton catcher Maya Kerstetter, right, eyes the throw as Mary Edwards of East Longmeadow approaches home on a hit from Jill Morrisino Friday in Northampton. Edwards was safe.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Rachel Sheehan of Northampton connects for a two-run single against East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Rachel Sheehan of Northampton connects for a two-run single against East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kristin Gross of Northampton, left, forces out Madison Grande of East Longmeadow on a hit from Mary Edwards Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Kristin Gross of Northampton, left, eyes a throw to second just before Mary Edwards of East Longmeadow stole the base Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Rachel Sheehan of Northampton hits a single against East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Mary Greco of Northampton pitches to East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Shannon O'Leary of Northampton hits a single against East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Nadine Harris of Northampton, right, makes it safely to second on a hit from Emilie Baldwin as McKenzie Lambert of East Longmeadow takes the throw Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Kristin Gross of Northampton, left, fields the ball as Mary Edwards of East Longmeadow steals second Friday in Northampton. Umpire Dave Kennedy watches the play.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Northampton catcher Maya Kerstetter, right, eyes the throw as Mary Edwards of East Longmeadow approaches home on a hit from Jill Morrisino Friday in Northampton. Edwards was safe.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Rachel Sheehan of Northampton connects for a two-run single against East Longmeadow Friday in Northampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

NORTHAMPTON — Northampton softball senior Mary Greco suffered her two most frustrating career losses in consecutive days this week.

After falling at Longmeadow in the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday, the Blue Devils lost in extra innings to East Longmeadow 6-5 at home Friday.

“They’ve been tough. They are good teams, but it’s still extremely frustrating,” the senior pitcher said. “We’ve come so far. My freshman year, we didn’t even make tournament and now here we are, we got into the tournament basically halfway through the season. I’m really proud of my team. I can’t say enough about them.”

The Spartans (14-4) scored on a two-out error in the top of the eighth inning just 24 hours after the Lancers (13-4) scored twice in the bottom of the seventh of a 2-1 victory over the Blue Devils (11-7).

“You hope that if you have two of those maybe you would pull one of them out,” Hamp coach Jim Hale said. “We just can’t seem to win the close ones. We couldn’t get that one more run in.”

It was a disappointing result on senior day for Northampton, which honored four-year team members Kristin Gross, Shannon O’Leary and Greco before the game.

“There were a lot of emotions,” Greco said. “It was nice, but bittersweet. When the game started, I just tried to put them aside and focus on the game.”

Northampton finished with nine hits off East Longmeadow’s Madison Grande (six strikeouts, three walks), one day after striking out 13 times against Longmeadow star Jillian Stockley.

Seeing Stockley’s “speed yesterday definitely helped, but (Grande) is very good, too,” Greco said. “She moves the ball well. We just had a great hitting day today.”

Greco was one of four Blue Devils with two hits. Her second single drove in Gross to tie the score at 5-5 in the sixth.

No. 6 hitter Rachel Sheehan (two RBIs, one run), No. 7 hitter Lily Glading-DiLorenzo (double, run) and No. 9 hitter Shannon O’Leary (triple, RBI) had two hits each as well.

Glading-DiLorenzo blasted a double off the very top of the wall in left-center in the second inning, while Sheehan drove in a pair of runs with a line-drive single in the fifth.

“It was especially nice to see that out of the bottom of the order,” Hale said. “Lily and Rachel hit the ball very hard. The top of the order did OK.”

Greco allowed 12 hits and no walks while striking out nine.

East Longmeadow trailed 2-1 after four innings, but scored four times in the fifth on three hits and one error.

Northampton got two back in the bottom of the frame on Sheehan’s single and then tied the score on Greco’s sixth-inning hit.

But the Spartans came through in the eighth when Julia Decker led off with a single that one-hopped the fence in left-center. She took third on a sacrifice bunt before Greco got Grande (3-for-5) swinging for the second out.

But the Norhampton infield couldn’t handle a hard grounder by Alyssa Pioggia and Decker scored the go-ahead run.

O’Leary drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the eight, but Grande got the next three batters in order to end the game.

Hale said he doesn’t expect his team to dwell on the consecutive tough losses.

“I don’t think they are that type,” he said. “They will bounce back. We have three games next week. We just need to get ready for tournament. Play the best we can and see what happens. Maybe this will make us a better team. Maybe it will tell us that we need to step up and play a little harder.”

Jim Pignatiello can be reached at jpignatiello@gazettenet.com.

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