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Despite loss, Belchertown relishes season of firsts

  • Belchertown Head Coach Matt Stenuis calls a time out in the first inning after Wahconah scored four runs Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Belchertown Head Coach Matt Stenuis calls a time out in the first inning after Wahconah scored four runs Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Samantha Manitsas of Belchertown pitches to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Samantha Manitsas of Belchertown pitches to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tea Spellacy, right, of Belchertown, makes it first ahead of a throw to Bethany McBlain of Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Tea Spellacy, right, of Belchertown, makes it first ahead of a throw to Bethany McBlain of Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Belchertown Head Coach Matt Stenuis encourages his team from third base  Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Belchertown Head Coach Matt Stenuis encourages his team from third base Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Samantha Manitsas of Belchertown pitches to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Samantha Manitsas of Belchertown pitches to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Erica Boileau of Belchertown connects for a double against Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Erica Boileau of Belchertown connects for a double against Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Erica Boileau, right, of Belchertown, gets tagged out by Shannon Lussier of Wahconah at third on a steal Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Erica Boileau, right, of Belchertown, gets tagged out by Shannon Lussier of Wahconah at third on a steal Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Samantha Manitsas of Belchertown pitches to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Samantha Manitsas of Belchertown pitches to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Emily Silva of Belchertown connects, but was out at first against Wahconah during this at-bat Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Emily Silva of Belchertown connects, but was out at first against Wahconah during this at-bat Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mackenzie Yelle of Belchertown catches a fly ball from Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Mackenzie Yelle of Belchertown catches a fly ball from Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mackenzie Yelle of Belchertown, right, tags out Bethany McBlain of Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Mackenzie Yelle of Belchertown, right, tags out Bethany McBlain of Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Erica Boileau, left, of Belchertown, prepares to catch as Erin Grogan of Wahconah runs to first Wednesday at Sortino Field. Grogan was safe.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Erica Boileau, left, of Belchertown, prepares to catch as Erin Grogan of Wahconah runs to first Wednesday at Sortino Field. Grogan was safe.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • The Belchertown bench laments during a rally by Wahconah in the fifth inning Wednesday at Sortino Field.JERREY ROBERTS

    The Belchertown bench laments during a rally by Wahconah in the fifth inning Wednesday at Sortino Field.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tea Spellacy, left, of Belchertown, catches at first ahead of Erin Grogan of Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.JERREY ROBERTS

    Tea Spellacy, left, of Belchertown, catches at first ahead of Erin Grogan of Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • The Belchertown bench endures the final minutes of their loss to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    The Belchertown bench endures the final minutes of their loss to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hannah Fink of Belchertown hits a single against Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Hannah Fink of Belchertown hits a single against Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tea Spellacy of Belchertown connects, but was out at first against Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Tea Spellacy of Belchertown connects, but was out at first against Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Belchertown seniors Sarah Woodcock, from left, Emily Silva, Erica Boileau and Samantha Manitsas deliver the runner-up trophy to their team after their loss to Wahconah in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 final Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Belchertown seniors Sarah Woodcock, from left, Emily Silva, Erica Boileau and Samantha Manitsas deliver the runner-up trophy to their team after their loss to Wahconah in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 final Wednesday at Sortino Field.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Belchertown Head Coach Matt Stenuis calls a time out in the first inning after Wahconah scored four runs Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Samantha Manitsas of Belchertown pitches to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Tea Spellacy, right, of Belchertown, makes it first ahead of a throw to Bethany McBlain of Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Belchertown Head Coach Matt Stenuis encourages his team from third base  Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Samantha Manitsas of Belchertown pitches to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Erica Boileau of Belchertown connects for a double against Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Erica Boileau, right, of Belchertown, gets tagged out by Shannon Lussier of Wahconah at third on a steal Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Samantha Manitsas of Belchertown pitches to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Emily Silva of Belchertown connects, but was out at first against Wahconah during this at-bat Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Mackenzie Yelle of Belchertown catches a fly ball from Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Mackenzie Yelle of Belchertown, right, tags out Bethany McBlain of Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field. <br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Erica Boileau, left, of Belchertown, prepares to catch as Erin Grogan of Wahconah runs to first Wednesday at Sortino Field. Grogan was safe.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • The Belchertown bench laments during a rally by Wahconah in the fifth inning Wednesday at Sortino Field.JERREY ROBERTS
  • Tea Spellacy, left, of Belchertown, catches at first ahead of Erin Grogan of Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.JERREY ROBERTS
  • The Belchertown bench endures the final minutes of their loss to Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Hannah Fink of Belchertown hits a single against Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Tea Spellacy of Belchertown connects, but was out at first against Wahconah Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Belchertown seniors Sarah Woodcock, from left, Emily Silva, Erica Boileau and Samantha Manitsas deliver the runner-up trophy to their team after their loss to Wahconah in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 final Wednesday at Sortino Field.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

AMHERST

It wasn’t the ending the Belchertown softball team was hoping for. That much was obvious before Wahconah’s five-run top of the first was over.

Defensive mistakes, solid hitting by the Warriors and a maybe even a strong gusting wind conspired to put the Orioles in an unfamiliar hole, too deep to climb out of.

And for about a day, the loss will undoubtedly sting. A 10-0 loss doesn’t represent what Belchertown accomplished this year.

But as the lens of perspective pulls back a bit, history will judge the 2013 Orioles in a positive light.

This was the first Belchertown softball team to ever advance to a sectional final. Until a future collection of Orioles wins a Western Massachusetts title, this squad will be the one against which all teams are judged. The bar is officially raised.

During the time the seniors have walked the halls of the school off Route 202, Belchertown has experienced as much success as almost any school in western Massachusetts. All seasons. Both genders in almost every sport.

The soccer, basketball, football and cross country teams have all enjoyed playoff success. The success has been contagious. As she watched her friends on the soccer teams make deep runs into the postseason, senior left fielder Sarah Woodcock hoped to experience something similar.

She got that wish as the softball team earned a trip to Sortino Field.

“It’s a beautiful field and it’s special to go play where the college girls’ names are,” she said gesturing toward the dugout where each locker features the name of a UMass player. “It amazing to play here twice. It was such an honor.”

First-year coach Matt Stenuis enjoyed watching his players savor the experience.

“Just to come to this place is pretty special,” he said. “Most kids never get to play here. They can say that they did.”

They did more than just play. The Orioles unseated defending champion Hampshire 3-1 last week to earn a spot in the final.

“I’m really, really proud of my team for making it this far,” said Woodcock, still holding the second-place trophy. “We’re the first team in Belchertown history to make it to the Western Mass. finals and get a No. 1 seed. I’m really proud of our efforts. Our town is a soccer town. They’ve won so many Western Mass. championships in the past couple of years. It makes a statement that we were the next team to make it that far. For the next few years teams will try to play as well as we did.

“We were the first for so many things for the Belchertown softball program,” she continued. “It’ll be something I’ll be able to tell my kids that I made it to the Western Mass. finals. It was so awesome. We’re still going to get our name on a school banner. We still made it that far. Only two teams got here from Division 2. We can’t complain.”

Stenuis shared his senior’s pride.

“It was a banner year for Belchertown. We went 8-0 in the Suburban League. We qualified for the tournament earlier than we ever had. We beat some good D-1 teams. We ran into a great team today,” he said. “I’m losing four great seniors, but we have a young team and now they know what it’s like to be here. One game doesn’t define the season. We had a great run and we’ll be back.”

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com.

Related

Wahconah jumps on Belchertown, pulls away for Division 2 crown

Thursday, October 9, 2014

AMHERST — All year long, Belchertown softball pitcher Samantha Manitsas has been successful by inducing ground ball after ground ball. But in the first inning of the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Tournament title game Wednesday, Wahconah kept putting balls in the air and kept getting good results. In all, the Warriors scored five times in the top of the first …

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