AMHERST >> Turners Falls starter Mackenzie Phillips struck out eight, leading the second-seeded Indians to a 3-1 win over No. 4 Mount Everett in the semifinals of the Western Massachusetts Division III tournament on Thursday at UMass-Amherst. The Indians advance to face Hoosac Valley in the championship game Saturday at noon at the same location.
It's the third time in three years the Indians have defeated Mount Everett in the semifinals.
Gabby Arzuaga started the scoring for Turners with a two-run single in the third inning. Arzuaga drove the pitch into left field. Hailey Whipple scored from third easily and Alyson Murphy followed close behind. Kersten Cutlip's throw to home appeared to beat Murphy to the plate, but the Indians' lead-off hitter slid just under the tag, plating what proved to be the winning run.
Melissa Hersey added an insurance run with an RBI double in the fourth.
"They're always here and they're always tough," Turners Falls coach Gary Mullins said of Mount Everett. "They're not afraid of us. They've been here plenty of times against us. Nothing new. I can't remember that last time we haven't played them."
Turners last loss to Everett in the 2013 Western Mass. D-III championship game, as pitcher Alicia Bazonski led the Eagles to a 3-0 win. Mullins said previous Everett teams played small-ball, trying to manufacture just enough offense to pull out a win. This year's Everett team had plenty of offensive firepower, led by leadoff hitter Gwendolyn Carpenter.
Carpenter started the sixth inning with a single. She came around to score on a single from Emily Coon. Carpenter shined on defense as well, making seven putouts in the field, including a 6-3 double play in the first and all three outs in the sixth inning.
The freshman shortstop also has the unique honor of notching the final out against Turners in all three of the last three meetings. Despite the small bit of bad luck, Everett coach Kurt DeGrenier said he expects Carpenter to be the pillar of the program for the next three years.
"She's upset that she came up to bat against Turners in the seventh three times [without a hit], but she's a tough kid and she will remember it," he said. "She'll help us keep this program going the right way."
Everett must replace catcher Morgan DeGrenier and clean-up hitter Coon, but the Eagles look poised for return trips to Western Mass. with three freshmen in the starting lineup this season. Morgan, the oldest of the two DeGrenier sisters on the squad, finished 1 for 3. Chandler DeGrenier also had one hit. The Eagles finish 18-4.
Chandler DeGrenier and Morgan DeGrenier. Mackenzie Phillips and Gabby Arzuaga. 2B — TF 1 (Melissa Hersey).
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252