AMHERST -- As the members of the Mount Everett softball team left their dugout on Thursday, they could hear the shouts of joy from the other side of the field.
That's because Central Massachusetts champion Assabet Valley short-circuited the Eagles' planned battle for a Division III state championship, beating the Western Mass. champions 3-1 in an eight-inning semifinal at the University of Massachusetts.
"I want that to be us," said Everett pitcher Alicia Bazonski.
For six innings, it looked like it was going to be the Eagles. Bazonski, a junior right-hander had surrendered two hits in that time, striking out six and walking none. It all came apart in the seventh, when the Aztecs scored the tying run, and then got two runs in the extra inning.
Everett got three fly ball outs in the bottom of the eighth and when Haley Finn skied a ball to Kayla Baker in center, the game was over and the Eagles' dreams were dashed.
"This should drive" the returning players, said Eagles coach Kurt DeGrenier. "One of the lines we used last year was that it's 365 days to get back to this point. It's a long way. Don't squander your opportunities."
The Eagles were done in by a pitcher who, like Bazonski, was pretty much on her game. Sophomore Maddy Parmenter scattered four hits and retired the final six hitters she faced. The right-hander struck out five and walked one.
For her part, Bazonski pretty much matched Parmenter. The Everett junior gave up seven hits, struck out seven and walked one.
"There weren't too many hits. When there were hits, there were overthrows. [Assabet Valley had] really good base runners," Everett catcher Morgan DeGrenier said. "They made some plays we weren't ready for. They played better and won the game."
The Eagles broke a scoreless tie in the third inning when Brooke Morehouse hit a one-out double to center field. She took third on Finn's groundout and scored on DeGrenier's infield single.
That was the only really good scoring chance for the Eagles all day. They did get runners in scoring position with two outs in the fifth and seventh innings, but couldn't convert.
"[Parmenter] wasn't throwing very hard. She was hitting her spots and keeping us off balance," the Everett coach said. "She did a great job. I saw her go out there and thought this is the perfect speed. She kept us off balance. We didn't put the ball in play very hard at all."
The Aztecs parlayed Morgan Parmenter's leadoff single in the top of the seventh into a run. Parmenter hit a 0-1 pitch down the right-field line ending a streak of nine straight outs by Bazonski. Parmenter stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored on Maddy Parmenter's base hit.
"For some reason, our girls didn't get down. It's 1-0 going into the seventh and anyone could fold at that point," said Assabet coach Mike O'Brien. "The character and the integrity of this team is you fight until the last out is recorded."
In the eighth, Bazonski got the first two Aztecs and was one pitch from taking a tie game into the home eighth when Lutz hit a ball of the glove of Emily Coon at short. Lutz ended up at second with a double and took third on a 0-1 wild pitch with Morgan Parmenter at bat. Parmenter singled through the drawn-in infield, plating Lutz with the tie-breaking run. After stealing second, Jennifer Casavant doubled to left, making it 3-1, which is how the game ended.
"The journey from the beginning of the season was I'm not sure I saw us at this point," said DeGrenier. "They didn't give up. They didn't give up today right to the end.
"They were a pleasure to coach, and they're going to be better next year."
Assabet 000 000 12--3 7 0
Everett 001 000 00--1 4 0
Maddy Parmenter and Deanna Hnilica; Alicia Bazonski and Morgan DeGrenier. W -- Parmenter. L -- Bazonski. 2B -- Assabet 1 (Brittany Lutz); Everett 1 (Brooke Morehouse).