Div. 4 softball: Top-seeded Hampshire rolls again, blanks Malden Catholic in Round of 16 (PHOTOS)

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  • Hampshire Regional shortstop Bri Sulikowski, center, eyes a throw to first base against Malden Catholic in the Division 4 softball state tournament Round of 16. The Raiders won 13-0 in five innings. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Hampshire senior Katelyn Baker lays down a bunt to lead off the game against Malden Catholic in the Division 4 softball state tournament Round of 16. The Raiders won 13-0 in five innings. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Hampshire third baseman Hailey Wodecki loads up a throw to first base against Malden Catholic in the Division 4 softball state tournament Round of 16. The Raiders won 13-0 in five innings. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Hampshire Regioal pitcher Jocelyn Mettey delivers against Malden Catholic in the Division 4 softball state tournament Round of 16. The Raiders won 13-0 in five innings. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Hampshire senior Katleyn Baker touches home base against Malden Catholic in the Division 4 softball state tournament Round of 16. The Raiders won 13-0 in five innings. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 6/7/2022 8:50:59 PM

WESTHAMPTON – Full steam ahead for the No. 1 seed.

The Hampshire Regional softball team ended its second consecutive MIAA Division 4 tournament game via the mercy rule in five innings on Tuesday. The Raiders took down No. 17 Malden Catholic 13-0 to reach the state quarterfinals. They’ll host either No. 8 Littleton or No 9 Tyngsborough on Friday. Those teams face off at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Littleton.

Hampshire (21-2) “walked off” in the Round of 32 against Uxbridge by scoring the 12th run in the bottom of the fifth. Against Malden Catholic, the Raiders put up all 13 runs in the first four innings and didn’t even need to bat in the fifth.

“One person does one good thing and we keep going with that,” Hampshire senior shortstop Bri Sulikowski said.

Senior leadoff hitter Katelyn Baker shoveled the first lump of coal into the engine, leading off the bottom of the first inning with a bunt single. She then stole second.

“I wanted to put pressure on them from the beginning,” Baker said. “I want to put as much pressure on the defense as I can.”

Senior catcher Teresa Saltis continued her tear with an RBI double that made it 1-0. Pitcher Jocelyn Mettey reached on an error, then Sulikowski added the second run on an RBI ground out. Hannah Wodecki tacked on No. 3 with an RBI double.

Hampshire picked up steam in the second inning. After a strikeout to open the inning, No. 9 hitter Katelyn Labrie doubled. Baker singled again, then a Hannah Wodecki fly out brought up Saltis. She knocked in another RBI single to make it 4-0. Baker scored on a passed ball for a five-run lead. After Mettey walked, Sulikowski stroked an RBI double to increase the lead to seven.

“I didn’t want a hit for myself, I wanted to get them in,” Sulikowski said. 

Hannah Wodecki put the ball in play, and an error allowed the lead to grow to 8-0.

“It’s like a domino effect,” Baker said. “Keep the train rolling.”

An Ella Malanson walk and a Labrie single to open the third chugged the engine along. Baker laid down a sacrifice bunt to push them over to second and third, then Hannah Wodecki’s deep fly out brought them both home after an errant throw to the catcher. That staked Hampshire to a 10-run lead.

Mettey and the Raiders defense ensured the Lancers couldn’t catch up. She allowed two singles in the first two Malden Catholic at bats, prompting a meeting at the mound. Hampshire coach Brian McGan told her that her location was a little off. She was throwing the ball up, and Malden Cathloic was hitting it hard. He reminded her to keep the ball down.

“She swung back with that,” McGan said.

Mettey only allowed two more hits and a walk the rest of the way, striking out three. After a Malden Catholic leadoff single in the fourth, Mettey fielded a sharp grounder and threw it back to Sulikowski, who turned a double play. Sulikowski ended the inning with a ranging, diving catch to her right after initially shading toward the middle of the field.

“She’s been stellar all year. I call her my lunchbox player because she plays everywhere we put her and does a great job,” McGan said.

In the bottom half, Hailey Wodecki wore a pitch to start the train rolling again. Ashley Cortis singled, then Malanson drove her in with a single. Cortis was thrown out going for third, but the inning kept rolling with a Labrie walk. Baker reached on a fielder’s choice, and Hannah Wodecki brought two more around after an error.

Mettey sat down the Lancers 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth to end the game.

“That’s how we play, we keep feeding off each other,” Sulikowski.

All that’s left now is to wait and see who’s next on the menu.

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

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