Softball: Hampshire Regional takes down Westfield in rematch (PHOTOS)

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  • Hampshire Regional senior Katelyn Baker (4) is welcomed to the dugout after scoring from third on a Hannah Wodecki single in the second inning of the Raiders' 11-5 win over the visiting Bombers on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Westhampton. Joining in the celebration are players, from left, Teaghan Charles, Ella Malanson, Emma Czarniecki and Hailey Wodecki. Baker's triple earlier in the inning batted in two runs. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional senior Hannah Wodecki beats a would-be tag by Westfield second baseman Kelsey Bouchard to reach safely on her double to left field in the first inning of the Raiders' 11-5 win over the visiting Bombers on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional sophomore third baseman Hailey Wodecki (17) just misses a toss by shortstop Emma Czarniecki allowing Grace Leduc, right, of Westfield to advance in the second inning of the Raiders' 11-5 win over the visiting Bombers on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional junior shortstop Emma Czarniecki lets a high pitch by Westfield's Megan Cichonski pass by before smacking the next one to score Ashley Cortis from second base in the second inning of the Raiders' 11-5 win over the visiting Bombers on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional coach Brian McGan calls a timeout with the Raiders infield in the second inning of the their 11-5 home win over Westfield on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Westhampton. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional senior second baseman Bri Sulowski fields a grounder by Westfield's Emma LaPoint in the second inning of the Raiders' 11-5 win over the visiting Bombers on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Westhampton. Sulowski's relay to first was just a little high and late to stop LaPoint from reaching base. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 5/12/2022 8:59:03 PM

WESTHAMPTON – With her team trailing 1-0 and two runners on base, Katelyn Baker knew she had to make her next at bat count.

“When I was up I was like, ‘I need to do something,’” Baker said. 

Hampshire Regional had made a few fielding mistakes in the top of the second inning, allowing Westfield to get on the board first while also loading the bases again with just one out. That forced Raiders head coach Brian McGan to call a timeout to settle his team back down.

Starting pitcher Joss Mettey and her fielders managed to get the next two outs and prevented any more damage, but now the Raiders had to get down to business at the plate. Baker was ready to start racking up some runs of her own. 

She settled into the batter’s box and unloaded on the perfect pitch, blasting the ball into the outfield and making it all the way to third before Westfield’s fielders got the ball back to the infield. The smack drove in two runs in the process. She ripped off her elbow sleeve and threw it at the dugout, yelling in celebration with her teammates on the bench.

“As soon as I hit third I was pumped up, because I've been in a little bit of a slump, not gonna lie,” Baker said. “I was pumped up for everyone, not even myself, just everyone. I know once that good hit happens, it's like a domino effect.” 

Baker’s triple was the catalyst for the Raiders, which ripped off seven hits in the bottom of the second to jump out to a 6-1 lead that Westfield was never able to recover from. Hampshire finished with an 11-5 victory, one that was extra sweet after a 12-4 loss to the Bombers earlier this season.

“We did a good job of shutting that down and I know those guys can hit so any kind of lead is not big enough. They still scratch and claw to get themselves back in,” McGan said of Westfield. “So I know they're a good team. They swing the bat well. But we played well. We made all the plays when we had to.”

Everything was clicking for the Raiders after the top of the second. Hampshire finished with 17 hits, and its fielding was also on point, tracking fly balls and making the right play to limit Westfield’s scoring opportunities.

The Bombers did try to get back into the game during the top of the sixth, when they scored three runs on four hits and ended Mettey’s day in the circle. Relief pitcher Laci Chapdelaine came in and finished out the remaining 1.1 innings, allowing no hits and walking one; Mettey allowed nine hits and struck out one in 6.2 innings. 

“They did amazing with all the heat and all the pressure. Joss did good, and once Laci came in, I felt comfortable,” Baker said. “I know Laci can really help us out when we need it. We're really proud of both of them.”

It was a group effort all the way around for the Raiders, which built their lead steadily after the scoreless first frame. Hailey Wodecki went 4-for-5 at the plate, drilling singles with machine precision, catcher Theresa Saltis crushed two doubles and Baker added a double to go with her triple, to highlight a few standout efforts. 

“Hailey Wodecki – her bat’s on fire right now and she's playing great defense. She was a standout today for sure, on offense for sure,” McGann said. “But the whole team did really well, and we had to.” 

The win extended the Raiders’ winning streak to 10 games, and the reigning Western Mass. champs don’t look like they’re planning on slowing down any time soon. Hampshire softball has won six of the last seven Western Mass. titles, and the goal this year is to keep that championship in Westhampton. 

“It definitely feels really good, especially after last season,” Hannah Wodecki said on the team’s sustained success. “There was a lot of anticipation coming into the season, but we didn't want to (let) superstition or anything let us down. So we just keep our calm and take it one game at a time.”


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