Division 1 softball: Northampton can’t keep pace with Minnechaug in semifinals

  • Emilia Pelis, of Northampton, hits a single against Minnechaug during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Marissa Badorini, of Northampton, pitches to Minnechaug during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jill McGrath, of Northampton, bunts against Minnechaug during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. The hit was caught. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Marissa Badorini, of Northampton, pitches to Minnechaug during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton pitcher Marissa Badorini, left, talks to her catcher, Kaitlyn Ramdath, during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jill McGrath, front, of Northampton, begins a throw to first after forcing out Jenna Murray, of Minnechaug, at second on a hit by Cristina Fore during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. Fore was safe. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Molly Allen, right, of Northampton, gets tagged out by Jenna Murray, of Minnechaug, while trying to steal second base during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton coach Andy Pelis talks to Tara O'Connor during his team's loss to Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ella Pelis, right, of Northampton, can't beat a throw to Minnechaug first baseman Melanie Ward during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jill McGrath, left, of Northampton, turns to tag Jenna Murray, of Minnechaug, but it's too late and Murray steals second base during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton catcher Kaitlyn Ramdath forces out Tatum Legere at home during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kaitlyn Ramdath, of Northampton, connects against Minnechaug, but her hit was caught by Minnechaug during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton first baseman Tara O'Connor catches at first on a hit by Katelyn Thompson, of Minnechaug, during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Emilia Pelis, of Northampton, catches a hit by Melanie Ward, of Minnechaug, during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Calista Lebron, of Northampton, gets a hit, but it is caught by Minncehaug, during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Isabella Ferrara, right, of Minnechaug, scores on a passed ball after getting past Northampton catcher Kaitlyn Ramdath, left, during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal, Monday, June 10, 2019 at Sortino Field in Amherst. Northampton pitcher Marissa Badorini waits for the umpire's call. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 6/10/2019 10:37:09 PM

AMHERST — Marissa Badorini and the Northampton softball team kept the storm at bay as long as they could.

The Blue Devils trailed top-seeded Minnechaug by a run for the first five innings of the team’s Western Massachusetts Division 1 semifinal at UMass’ Sortino Field. They escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth to keep the deficit slim.

Then the bottom of the sixth happened. Minnechaug scored four runs on four hits and secured a 5-0 victory and a place in Saturday’s final against Pittsfield.

“They started catching up to us. They got some timely hits,” Badorini said.

Singles by Minnechaug’s Kelsey Allard, Camryn Baroni and Kaela LaDouceur loaded the bases with no outs. Isabelle Ferara sent a deep ball to center field to score a run and make it 2-0, but Baroni was thrown out heading for second. Morgan Sanborn singled to put the Falcons (18-2) up 3-0. Pitcher Katelyn Thompson grounded out, then a Jenna Murray walk loaded the bases again. A wild pitch made it 4-0, and an error put Minnechaug up 5-0 before Melanie Ward popped out to end the inning.

“Things were working in their favor,” Northampton senior Calista Lebron said.

The Blue Devils’ best chance came in the top of the first inning. Emilia Pelis singled with two outs, and Badorini singled behind her. That brought up Lebron, Northampton’s best power hitter. She struck out after a prolonged battle with Thompson.

“We had two runners on, we just couldn’t capitalize on it,” Northampton coach Andy Pelis said.

Minnechaug went ahead 1-0 in the bottom half of the inning. Sanborn led off with a single and moved to second on a Thompson groundout. Jenna Murray singled to drive her in.

Northampton (10-12) only managed two hits the rest of the way: a Lebron single in the fourth and a Tara O’Connor single in the fifth. Thompson finished with seven strikeouts and no walks in a shutout.

“She stuck with the high fastball, which is a tempting pitch,” Badorini said. “She worked with her change-up a lot, which kept us off balance.”

She needed some defensive help, too. Baroni robbed Jill McGrath of multiple bases when she tracked down a fly ball in left field to lead off the sixth. Then Thompson leapt up to catch a rocket from Kaitlyn Ramdath that was headed for center field.

“For this area, she throws probably harder than anyone we see. She can locate, she’s got a good change-up,” coach Pelis said. “It’s difficult for any team to get in a rhythm against her.”

It was the third time the Blue Devils faced Minnechaug this season, all losses. The teams have also faced each other in each of the past five postseasons. Northampton prevailed in last year’s semifinals but lost the other four match ups.

“I love playing them,” Badorini said. “We know it’s always going to be a good game.”

Northampton graduated three seniors: Badorini, Lebron and Madelyn Subocz. They led a young team that improved greatly from the start of the season. The Blue Devils suffered through growing pains, hovering around .500 for most of the season. They needed a three-game winning streak at the end of the season to qualify for the tournament.

“It’s an uplifting feeling, as seniors, having this group of girls being taken to UMass because we didn’t think it was going to be possible at first,” Lebron said.

Badorini took her lumps as a first-year pitcher. She wasn’t a pitcher before this season but knew the Blue Devils needed one and stepped into the role.

“I can’t say enough about the hard work she did to get ready for the season and the improvement she made from the beginning of the year to where she is now,” coach Pelis said. “She made the sacrifice for the team.”

Northampton will bring back six players from its starting lineup next season trying to reach the Western Mass semifinals for the third year in a row.

“For us to compete in the semis, my hats off to them and the hard work they did,” coach Pelis said. “Any time you make the postseason it benefits the younger players getting to the playoffs.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

Minnechaug 5, Northampton 0

Northampton      000 000 0 — 0 4 3

Minnechaug       100 004 x — 5 7 0

WP—Thompson LP—Badorini

Records: Minnechaug (18-2) Northampton (10-12)




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy