AMHERST -- Mount Everett's Alicia Bazonski was just a bit better on the mound than her St. Joseph opponent, Chanler Hospot, and that translated into a postseason win on Thursday afternoon.
Mount Everett marched into the Western Massachusetts Division III softball finals with a 3-0 win over the Crusaders at the University of Massachusetts.
Bazonski threw a three-hitter, struck out 11 and did not walk a batter. Hospot tossed a five-hitter, struck out eight and walked one batter.
"After we worked out the kinks a little, I thought we played pretty well," said Eagle coach Kurt DeGrenier. "Defensively, we were outstanding."
"Great game," said St. Joseph coach Jim Stimpson. "Kurt is a great coach, Mount Everett is a great team and Bazonski is a true-blue, 100 percent grade A stud."
The No. 1 seed Eagles (21-1), will play second seed Turners Falls (20-2) in Saturday's final at noon at UMass.
"We're looking forward to it," said Bazonski. "We're ready."
In the early going, it was the Crusaders who had scoring chances. Hospot reached second base on an error and moved to third on an infield out in the first, but Bazonski struck out Kendall Smith to end the inning.
In the second inning, Julia Murphy also reached second base on an Eagle miscue with one out. She advanced to third on another grounder, but again, Bazonski bore down, striking out Alex Desrosiers, and the threat went by the boards.
The Eagles scored twice in the third inning. Haley Finn and Natasha MacLeay singled. Bazonski's double scored them both.
But over the next three innings, Hospot and Bazonski were unhittable and the score remained 2-0.
St. Joseph hit the ball hard from time to time, but the Eagles made the plays on defense. The catch of the day was Everett third baseman Sam Hoover's diving snag of a Hannah Kibbe line drive in the fourth inning.
"Well, Alicia is so fast that I don't usually see a lot of those," said Hoover of the play. "But [the batter] got a good piece of it, and I just dove and hoped for the best."
In the top of the sixth, St. Joseph put something together. Back-to-back singles by Virginia Goggins and Hospot put runners at the corners. The next batter, Hannah Kibbe bunted. But Bazonski fielded the ball cleanly and threw out Goggins at home. One out.
Up came Smith, who also bunted. Again, Bazonski snagged the ball and gunned down Hospot at the plate, with Everett catcher Morgan DeGrenier making a nice tag. Two outs.
The next batter, Keegan McCauley, popped up to end the inning.
"We practice [fielding bunts] a lot," said Bazonski. "We were sort of ready for it, because Chanler especially is pretty fast. So we knew where we wanted to go."
In the bottom of the sixth, a nice piece of coaching by Kurt DeGrenier led to a third run. Speedy pinch-hitter Hannah Joyce singled, stole second, stole third and scored on Kersten Cutlip's triple to push the lead to 3-0.
"We were nervous," said DeGrenier of the decision. "A couple baserunners and a big hit, and we could be tied at two. I wanted to get another run."
Bazonski's two-run double was the biggest hit of the game. No player on either team had more than one hit.
St. Joe 000 000 0--0 3 2
Everett 002 001 x--3 5 1
Chanler Hospot and Hannah Kibbe; Alicia Bazonski and Morgan DeGrenier. W -- Bazonski. L -- Hospot. 2B -- Everett 1 (Bazonski) 3B -- Everett 1 (Kersten Cutlip).