HS softball: Unbeaten Smith Academy holds off rival Hopkins Academy, 9-8

For the Gazette
Published: 4/25/2018 12:39:25 AM

HADLEY — The Smith Academy softball team put its perfect record on the line against rival Hopkins Academy, Tuesday afternoon.

The Falcons held on to come away with a 9-8 victory over the Golden Hawks.

Smith Academy (5-0, 3-0 Bi County West) posted four runs on two hits in the first inning to take an early lead. Morgan Neal hit an RBI single to drive in the fourth run for Smith, while the other three runs were all courtesy of passed balls and errors.

The Golden Hawks (2-2, 2-2 Bi County West) pushed across one runner in the third on an RBI single from Allison Markowski and Smith Academy added a run in the fourth to maintain a 5-1 lead.

Hopkins Academy heated up in the fourth.

The inning started out inauspiciously. The Golden Hawks had a groundout, an infield single and a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to second with two outs. Then the rally started. A walk to Kelsey Bushy led to an RBI bloop single to center by Macy Ring that cut the deficit to 5-2.

Sara Beauchamp singled to plate one run and a loud double by Markowski drove in two more to even the game at 5-5.

“I enjoyed it very much,” Hopkins coach Paula Cristoforo said of the production. “I think that we’re still a very youthful team and things are still trying to come together for the girls. I switched the pitcher which I think was a big difference and that helped the team quite a bit.”

Cristoforo removed starting pitcher Maegan Quinlan after 2⅔ innings in favor of Markowski.

“I really just felt like I needed to shake things up a little bit,” Cristoforo said. “Megan is an amazing pitcher and she’s pitched almost all of our games for us and she’s done a great job for us. I just thought maybe switching up personnel would light a fire underneath my girls and get underneath their skin a little bit more.”

Smith Academy responded in the fifth. Two walks and a single loaded the bases with no one out. A passed ball allowed one run to score for the Falcons. A single by Erin Gilrein scored another and then a sacrifice fly from Emma Hobert tacked on the third run for an 8-5 lead.

After getting one back in the fifth, Hopkins rallied and tied the game in the sixth. Markowski came through with an RBI single up the middle to pull Hopkins within 8-7.

Hopkins had runners on second and third when a grounder was hit to third base. An errant throw home allowed Markowski to score the tying run, but the runner behind her was called out on a bang-bang play at the plate.

Hopkins then popped out to end the inning with the go-ahead run on third.

Maggie Hession slapped a single to left field to open the seventh for Smith, and advanced to third base on two passed balls. Gilrein then singled down the third base line to give Smith Academy the 9-8 lead.

Hopkins went down in order in the seventh to end the game.

“Close game,” Smith coach Phil Genovese said. “They played well, both teams played well. It was a good game.”

Bailey McCoy earned the complete-game win.

“She’s only an eighth-grader so she threw well pitching in a big game like this,” Genovese said. “They’re a good team. I’m not going to take anything away from Hopkins, they played well.”

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