Division 2 softball: Hampshire’s Katelyn Baker snatches WMass title over outfield fence

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  • Hampshire Regional’s Ashley Cortis (9), left, Maggie Rubeck (16) and Emma Czarniecki (6) celebrate a two-run home run by Hannah Wodecki in the fifth inning of the Red Raiders’ 6-4 win over Greenfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday in Westhampton. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional junior Hannah Wodecki, second from left, is celebrated by Maggie Rubeck (16) and the rest of the Red Raiders after hitting a two-run homer against Greenfield in the fifth inning of their Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional junior Hannah Wodecki rounds the bases after her two-run homer in the fifth inning of the Red Raiders’ 6-4 win over Greenfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Katelyn Baker, right, gets a hug from Hampshire Regional teammate Theresa Saltis after scoring in the fifth inning of the Red Raiders’ 6-4 win over Greenfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional’s Maggie Rubeck (16) hugs teammate Katelyn Baker after Baker made the game-winning, leaping catch over the fence to rob a home run and secure the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship over Greenfield on Friday in Westhampton. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional’s Maggi Rubeck (16) hugs Katelyn Baker after Baker made a diving catch to make the last out against Greenfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. At left is Ashley Cortis. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional junior catcher Katelyn Labrie, left, hugs junior center fielder Katelyn Baker after she caught the final out in the Red Raiders’ 6-4 win over Greenfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional catcher Katelyn Labrie, right, hugs center fielder Katelyn Baker after she caught the final out in the Red Raiders 6-4 win over Greenfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional junior Katelyn Baker brushes herself off after stealing second base in the fifth inning of the Red Raiders’ 6-4 win over Greenfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional outfielder Theresa Saltis, center, backed up by Katelyn Baker, left, and Maggie Rubeck, chases down a bad bounce in the seventh inning of the Red Raiders’ 6-4 win over Greenfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional players pose for a photo after the Red Raiders’ 6-4 win over Greenfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday in Westhampton. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • The Hampshire Regional Red Raiders pose for a photo after their 6-4 win over Greenfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 softball championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional senior shortstop Maggie Rubeck holds the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship trophy after the Red Raiders defeated Greenfield 6-4 on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional junior Hannah Wodecki accepts the Gary Stacy MVP award at the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship after the Red Raiders defeated Greenfield 6-4 on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional junior first baseman Hannah Wodecki pulls in the throw from third to retire Greenfield runner Gianna Conte in the fourth inning of the Red Raiders’ 6-4 win over the Green Wave in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional freshman Ashley Cortis bunts against Greenfield in the second inning of the Red Raiders’ 6-4 win over the Green Wave in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire’s Brianna Sulikowski slides into third base with Greenfield outfielder Rachel Dodge snagging the throw during the Raiders’ 6-4 win on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield junior catcher Kelsey Richardson lands a foul ball by Hampshire Regional's Hannah Wodecki to make the first out in the third inning of the Green Wave's 6-4 loss to the Red Raiders in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield senior pitcher Gianna Conte delivers to a Hampshire Regional batter in the sixth inning of the Green Wave's 6-4 loss to the Red Raiders in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield's Mackenzie Paulin tags back safely to first base under the glove of Hampshire Regional's Hannah Wodecki in the second inning of the Green Wave's 6-4 loss to Hampshire Regional in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield freshman Carly Blanchard singles in the third inning of the Green Wave’s 6-4 loss to Hampshire Regional in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield catcher Kelsey Richardson, left, pitcher Gianna Conte and second baseman Mackenzie Paulin head off the field after a successful first inning in the Green Wave's 6-4 loss to Hampshire Regional in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield sophomore Brielle Widelo (9) leans away from an inside pitch caught by Hampshire Regional's Katelyn Labrie in the third inning of the Green Wave's 6-4 loss to Hampshire Regional in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield players watch Kelsey Richardson hit a single in the sixth inning of the Green Wave's 6-4 loss to Hampshire Regional in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield players line up to accept the Western Massachusetts Division 2 finalist trophy after a 6-4 loss to Hampshire Regional on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield players applaud Hampshire Regional as the Red Raiders' accept the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship trophy on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield players Gianna Conte, left, Kelsey Richardson and Katie Haselton accept the Western Massachusetts Division 2 finalist trophy from Athletic Director Michael Kuchieski after a 6-4 loss to Hampshire Regional on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Greenfield players pose with their Western Massachusetts Division 2 finalist trophy after a 6-4 loss to Hampshire Regional on Friday, June 25, 2021, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 6/26/2021 6:57:32 PM

WESTHAMPTON — Even Katelyn Baker couldn’t believe what she did.

Greenfield had the tying run at the plate in Monday’s Western Massachusetts Division 2 softball championship game. Senior Katie Haselton stood in the batter’s box for the fifth-seeded Green Wave, and Mackenzie Paulin was on first base trailing by two runs.

Hampshire pitcher Jocelyn Mettey delivered the 1-2 pitch, and Haselton connected with a pop — the kind of sound that usually signals a home run, and in this case a tie game. But Baker was tracking back from the moment the ball hit the bat. The Raiders center fielder leaped at the center field wall and snagged the ball in her glove, somersaulting over the fence. She held it over her head and climbed back into the outfield. Hampshire senior Maggie Rubeck raced out to her and enveloped her in a hug.

“It doesn’t feel real right now, honestly. I was definitely in the right spot. I saw it and I was like ‘I’m not letting this go,” Baker said. “It felt unreal, like a movie. I stuck the glove up in the air and was like, we just won this thing.”

The catch ended Greenfield’s rally and secured the top-seeded Raiders’ 6-4 victory on their home field. It was Hampshire’s second consecutive Western Mass title and sixth in the past seven years. The undefeated Raiders will host Central Mass. champion Tyngsboro in the state semifinals at 5 p.m. Monday.

“Holy cow. I’ve never seen that,” Hampshire coach Brian McGan said. “My coaching career — that is the highlight defensive play I’ve ever seen, without a doubt.”

Hampshire initially looked poised for a runaway. Theresa Saltis put the Raiders up 2-0 with a sharp two-out single in the bottom of the second. Katelyn Labrie singled, and Ashley Cortis laid down a bunt single in front of her before two strikeouts put the onus on Saltis.

The Raiders widened the gap in the fifth. Baker — also the leadoff hitter — sparked a four-run inning with a single. She then stole second and third before Hampshire senior Maggie Rubeck brought her home with a sacrifice fly. Hannah Wodecki made it 4-0 with a solo homer to center field. She barely missed a home run in the first when a double hit the top of the wall and stayed in the park. With three hits in the game, she was named the Gary Stacy MVP as the tournament’s most outstanding player.

“I wasn’t really thinking about hitting it that far. You just make contact and my bat’ll do the rest,” Wodecki said. 

The bottom of Hampshire’s lineup delivered again later in the inning. Bri Sulikowski earned a two-out walk, then Cortis sent her to third with a single and stole second. Labrie brought them both home with a double to push the Raiders advantage to 6-0.

“That’s been happening the last part of the year, the bottom of the order has been really picking up the pace,” McGan said. “When the top struggles, the bottom’s been picking them up.”

The four-run inning didn’t knock the Green Wave out.

“Most teams probably would have folded,” Greenfield coach John Hickey said. “We have no quit in us.”

Greenfield’s Kelsey Richardson opened the third with a double then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Paulin brought her home with an RBI triple and knocked third base off the hinges sliding in safely. Hampshire had a moment to collect itself while McGan replaced the base, but the Green Wave kept coming. Haselton laced an RBI single to cut the Raiders’ lead to 6-2 before two ground outs and a strikeout ended the inning.

Brielle Widelo kept it going for Greenfield with a leadoff single, then Kaitlin Lavoine reached on an error. Carly Blanchard then dropped a single into the outfield, but Hampshire threw Widelo out going for home. A Richardson ground out moved the remaining two runners to second and third with two outs down four. 

Paulin hit a pop up to shortstop that should have ended the game, but the ball dropped and brought both runs home. As it has all season, Hampshire found what it needed to win.

“All those tough games we played during the year is paying off for these kids,” McGan said.

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