Division 2 softball: Hampshire’s season ends with lone loss to Tyngsborough

  • Hampshire Regional sophomore pitcher Jocelyn Mettey delivers against Easthampton in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 semifinals. The Raiders season ended  FILE PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 6/28/2021 9:40:47 PM

WESTHAMPTON — Monday’s state semifinal began brightly enough for previously unbeaten Hampshire Regional, with a run in each of its first two at-bats and an early 2-0 lead on its home field.

That’s when the Raiders’ hopes for a state title trip melted in the fierce heat, as visiting Tyngsborough rallied for four runs in the top of the third to take the lead for good. The Tigers then avalanched on the Raiders with an eight-run fifth inning, turning the issue into a 13-2 romp in the Division 2 state semifinal.

Tyngsborough (15-3), a first-time Central Mass. champion and now a debut state finalist, advanced to host Eastern Mass. champion Dighton-Rehoboth tomorrow.

Hampshire was stopped short in its bid to reach its first state final since back-to-back state championships in 2015 and 2016, with a final mark of 16-1.

“They’ve worked hard all year. We pushed them and they responded,” said Raiders coach Brian McGan. “It’s never easy to get this far. If it was that easy, everybody would do it. The talent we have coming back, hopefully it’ll be another good year.”

Against Tyngsborough’s Ella Beaulieu, Hampshire started the first with an one-out walk to Maggie Rubeck, who stole second and came in when Jocelyn Mettey doubled to the base of the fence in left-center.

Ashley Cortis then led off the second with a double that rolled under the right-center field fence. With one out, Hailey Wodecki reached on a wild pitch on strike three, moving all the way to second while Cortis held at third. After another strikeout, Katelyn Baker laced a single to center to score Cortis and put the Raiders ahead 2-0.

From that point, though, it was a struggle for Hampshire to generate any opportunities against Beaulieu. With two outs in the third, Bri Sulikowski was hit by a pitch and Cortis walked, but Beaulieu got the final out to start a string of 12 straight Raider batters retired. No one reached again until Baker’s two-out infield hit in the seventh.

Tyngsborough turned the game in the top of the third, thanks to some slack Hampshire defense. Madi Mical and Maddy DeCarteret each reached on back-to-back errors. Carly DiMento walked to load the bases before Hampshire got a grounder from Izzy Shaffer for a forceout at the plate. Beaulieu then smacked an infield single to the right side that second baseman Sulikowski stopped on a dive, but DeCarteret scored to put the Tigers on the board at 2-1.

Another grounder led to the second out at home, but Emma Hogan then delivered a two-run single just fair down the right-field line and Paige Connery followed with a base hit to left-center to plate Jayden Kelly with the fourth run of the inning.

The Tigers kept their foot on the gas in the fourth. Mical led off with an infield hit, went to second on an infield out, was bunted to third and came in when Shaffer roped a double into the right-field corner to make it 5-2.

The game then fell to pieces in the fifth, when Tyngsborough sent 14 batters to the plate against Mettey, her replacement Laci Chapdelaine, and then Mettey once again. The highlights were a pair of RBI base hits by Connery, Sam Puma’s two-run double, and a two-run single by Kelly. When the dust cleared, the Tigers had a “snowman” on the board with eight runs and total control at 13-2.

“I think we were just as good as they were with our talent. We just fell apart in that one inning and we never could regroup,” said McGan. “I went out to talk to them and I could see in their faces that things weren’t right.

“The last two games were so dramatic, I think maybe they thought this one would be easier. But it didn’t turn out that way.”

The Raiders lose only one senior, Rubeck, who will move on to a college softball career at Eastern Connecticut State University.

“We have so much fight in our team,” said Rubeck. “The last two games, it really showed. We wanted to be here, we fought to be here, it wasn’t just handed to us. I think they can fill my spot, and they can get right back here next year.”


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