Division 2 softball: Hannah Wodecki walk-off returns Hampshire to title game

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  • Hampshire Regional freshman Hailey Wodecki, center, leads the celebration after her sister, junior Hannah Wodecki, sent two-run homer over the fence in the seventh inning of the Red Raiders' 4-3 win over Easthampton on Wednesday in Westhampton. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton players leave the infield after losing 4-3 to Hampshire Regional on a two-run homer by the Red Raiders' Hannah Wodecki in the seventh inning of their Western Massachusetts Div. 2 semifinal at Westhampton on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior Chelsea Indyk pitches to a Hampshire Regional batter during the Eagles' 4-3 loss to the Red Raiders on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional sophomore pitcher Jocelyn Mettey delivers to an Easthampton batter in the second inning of the Red Raiders' 4-3 win over the visiting Eagles on Wednesday in Westhampton. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton sophomore shortstop Abigail McClaflin, left, pulls in the throw from home too late to stop a steal by Hampshire Regional junior Katelyn Baker in the first inning of their Western Massachusetts Div. 2 semifinal on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional junior Theresa Saltis, left, gets past the glove of Easthampton sophomore third baseman Lauren Morse on a triple to open the fifth inning of the Red Raiders’ 4-3 win over the visiting Eagles on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton coach Homar Gomez, right, gets clarification on a call at second base that ended the top of the fourth inning in a 4-3 loss to host Hampshire Regional on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional junior Katelyn Baker, right, steals second base before Easthampton sophomore shortstop Abigail McClaflin can apply the tag in the first inning of the Red Raiders’ 4-3 win over the visiting Eagles on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior pitcher Chelsea Indyk, center, and teammates celebrate the end of the second inning against Hampshire Regional in their Western Massachusetts Div. 2 semifinal on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton freshman first baseman Rosemary Follet, right, is celebrated by Abigail McClaflin, left, and Anna Growhoski after she bobbled the throw to first but regained it in time to retire Hailey Wodecki to end the sixth inning of their WMass semifinal against Hampshire Regional on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional junior Hannah Wodecki hits a two-run homer in the seventh inning to defeat Easthampton 4-3 in their Western Massachusetts Div. 2 semifinal on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional junior Katelyn Baker heads to first on a single that scored Theresa Saltis to bring the Red Raiders' within one run of Easthampton, 3-2, in the fifth inning of their 4-3 win over the visiting Eagles on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional players mob junior Hannah Wodecki (7) after her two-out, two-strike, two-run homer in the seventh inning clinched a 4-3 win over Easthampton in their Western Massachusetts Div. 2 semifinal on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Westhampton. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional freshman Ashley Cortis takes first base in the fourth inning of the Red Raiders’ 4-3 win over Easthampton on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Westhampton. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

For the Gazette
Published: 6/23/2021 9:57:33 PM

WESTHAMPTON — It seems like it wouldn't be a Western Mass. softball final if Hampshire Regional weren't involved, but the Raiders faced the final out and final strike in their final at-bat Wednesday before punching their ticket in thrilling fashion.

Hannah Wodecki drilled a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift top-seeded and unbeaten Hampshire to a 4-3 comeback victory over Easthampton in the Western Mass. Division 2 semifinals.

Hampshire (15-0) earned a home date with No. 6 Greenfield (12-2) in the Division 2 championship, set for Friday at 4:30 p.m. back in Westhampton. The Raiders are in the sectional final for the 10th time in the last 12 WMass tournaments, and in search of their seventh title since 2012.

With the Raiders trailing 3-2, Theresa Saltis began the home seventh with a leadoff walk against Eagles pitcher Chelsea Indyk, who set down the next two batters. Saltis stole second on a delay and Wodecki, who'd popped up twice and then flied to center in her previous at-bats, fell behind two strikes, with a couple of foul balls thrown in.

“It didn't have to come down to that,” said an emotional Wodecki afterward. “I wasn't really thinking about hitting it far, I just needed to move the baserunner over. I have confidence in the rest of the lineup.”

“That” turned into a two-strike smash over the 200-foot marker just to the left of straightaway center field, well beyond the reach of Easthampton center fielder Jessica Cloutier, who plowed through the temporary outfield fence in her pursuit of the ball.

“I tried to tell my team, if you keep the game close, you have a chance,” Hampshire coach Brian McGan said. “Even though things weren't going our way, we made a few mistakes here and there, we just kept it within reach. Easthampton played a great game, you can't take it away from them. They held us in check. Hannah's big bat again was unbelievable.”

Easthampton (13-2), the No. 5 seed, was denied its first trip to a Western Mass. softball final since 1980. Both of the Eagles' losses this season came at the hands of neighboring Hampshire, and in both games, Easthampton held a late lead.

“I believe we're the two best teams in Division II, and today was really like the Western Mass. final,”  said Eagles coach Homar Gomez. “I'm sorry we lost, but we gave them a good show. Chelsea did everything she had to do and threw a really good game. At the end, she missed a spot and they took advantage.”

In the battle between pitching aces Indyk and Hampshire's Jocelyn Mettey, Easthampton broke on top with a three-run fourth inning. Tessa Pond led off with a base hit to left, was wild-pitched to second, went to third on a groundout and scored when Indyk's hit struck the third-base bag and popped high in the air, falling in for an RBI infield single. Kristalynn Culver followed with a walk and Lauren Morse reached on a fielder's choice, then Cloutier doubled to the base of the fence in left field, scoring Culver and Morse for a 3-0 lead. Cloutier overran the second-base bag and was tagged out to end the inning.

Hampshire responded with a two-out rally in its half of the fourth, after Mettey singled and Bri Sulikowski lined into a double play. Ashley Cortis then walked and Katelyn Labrie doubled to left center to get the hosts on the board, trailing 3-1.

The Raiders crept a run closer in the fifth after Saltis tripled to right-center and Katelyn Baker drove her in with an infield single. Hampshire would later load the bases with one out, but Sulikowski's fly ball to center resulted in an inning-ending double play after Baker was trapped between third and home.

Easthampton threatened in the top of the sixth, getting a two-out single by Culver and a double to left from Morse, but Mettey grabbed Cloutier's soft line drive just off the infield dirt to retire the side.

Mettey allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out eight for the Raiders, while Indyk gave up six hits with five walks and five strikeouts. Cloutier, Morse and McKenzie McCarthy came through with doubles to pace the Eagles' offense.




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