ADAMS -- Hoosac Valley's softball team got the momentum it needed in the late innings Monday at Russell Field.
It just wasn't enough to overcome their early-inning woes.
Kassy Kazimierczak hit a grand slam in the sixth inning, and the Hurricanes scored twice in the bottom of the seventh, but Pathfinder got all the offense it needed in the first four innings to win 9-7 in a Western Mass. Division III quarterfinal.
With the win, Pathfinder advances to face top seed Mount Everett on Wednesday at the University of Massachusetts. Game time is 5 p.m.
The Pioneers led 8-0 after five innings, and pitcher Jenna Maska was cruising, allowing just two hits and stranding six Hoosac runners -- five of them in scoring position. But the Hurricanes tagged her for five runs in the sixth, with Kazimierczak's two-out, bases-loaded clout to deep left field being the biggest hit.
That scored her, Gabby Vincent, Alyssa Pause and Sienna Witherell -- and more importantly for Hoosac, it swung momentum in its favor.
"I was thinking, ‘See the ball to hit the ball,' " Kazimierczak said. "It was right down the middle of the plate.
"It definitely sets a different kind of stage. ... We definitely started something with that."
After Pathfinder plated a run in the top of the seventh, Hoosac put two on with nobody out in the bottom half of the frame. Haley Adelt sacrificed the runners to scoring position with a bunt, and Vincent's groundout to first base scored Kali Puppolo. Girard scored on a passed ball with Pause at the plate to bring Hoosac within two runs, but Maska struck out Pause looking to end the game.
Maska struck out 10 Hurricanes, but threw 123 pitches in the outing. She'll have just two days to rest before facing off against Alicia Bazonski and Mount Everett.
"I didn't really hydrate the day before, so I was kind of exhausted," Maska said. "Knowing [the] next out is another chance to keep playing again, that's what I [use]."
Puppolo started on the mound for Hoosac, but lasted just two innings. Hoosac coach Morgan Shafer -- who said Puppolo had pitched hurt in a first-round win over Franklin Tech -- pulled her starter with a right arm injury after 56 pitches and five runs allowed (two earned).
Erin Girard went from catcher to relief pitcher, and despite giving up two runs in the third and another in the fourth, gained control and confidence with every inning. She gave up four runs on six hits, but stranded five Pathfinder runners and got herself out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning.
"She didn't even warm up at all. She didn't really have [time]," Shafer said. "She went out and did exactly what she needed to do. Erin is a tremendous, tremendous asset to our team.
Witherell had an RBI single to left in the fifth inning, two batters before Kazimierczak's grand slam.
Pathfinder 142 100 1 -- 9 11 3
Hoosac 000 005 2 -- 7 5 3
Jenna Maska and Nicky Manarite. Kali Puppolo (2), Erin Girard (5) and Girard (2), Alyssa Pause (5). W -- Maska. L -- Puppolo. 3B -- Pathfinder 1 (Arrianna Reilly). HR -- Hoosac 1 (Kassy Kazimierczak).