PITTSFIELD — It took a few innings for the Pittsfield softball team to get going in its Western Mass. Division I quarterfinal game against Chicopee Comp.
But once the Generals got their bats hot, they were scorching.
Pittsfield hung up 11 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to mercy rule the Colts on Thursday, 15-1.
The fifth inning was a clinic in how to bat a team around. Starting with Allie Hunt, Pittsfield sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning, recording 10 of the team's 17 hits — including a pair of triples and a solo shot by Hunt.
"We noticed [Comp pitcher Mik Montemagni] had a little slower of a windup, so we were taking our time more," said Hunt, who went 2 for 3 with a walk, three runs scored and a pair of runs batted in. "Instead of double loading, we were waiting and once she got halfway through [her windup] we started to load back and our bats just came through."
The inning broke open a game that was uncomfortably close through four innings. Pittsfield went up 1-0 in the first on a sac fly from Hunt, but Chicopee Comp got the run back in the third when a throwing error allowed Maddi Montemagni to score from second.
Pittsfield re-took the lead with three in the fourth on RBI hits from Abby Santos and Bella Aitken, along with a sac fly from Emma Lacey, but the game was still in the balance even with the three-run cushion.
Emily Koldys set up the fifth by pitching a three-up, three-down top of the inning, then something contagious circled the PHS bats once they figured out Mik Montemagni's delivery.
"[Mik Montemagni] has a very slow and deliberate motion at the beginning, so we were loading two or three times I noticed," Pittsfield coach Greg Marchbanks said. "I was like 'whoa, relax you guys, figure it out, when her left foot goes you can start loading and driving it,' and you can see they made the adjustment.
"When they make the adjustment, they take good swings."
All 10 Pittsfield batters in the game contributed. Eight recorded hits, Emma Lacey had a pair of sac flies to score two runs and Erin Murphy reached on a walk and an error.
"I always have confidence in them," Koldys said of her teammates. "It's nice going out with a cushion. I know I have to work hard still, but that cushion is really nice."
Her teammates, though, didn't take any chances for a potential comeback. Up 13-1 and with a mercy-rule ending in sight, Abby Santos launched a pitch into right field that was dropped for an error, allowing Koldys and Giuliana Pierce to come around for the final runs of the game.
Toni Satrape had a bases-clearing triple in the fifth to plate three runs as a pinch hitter, while Santos — who also hit a triple in the fifth — and Lacey each had two RBI in the game. Hunt and Hayley Tobin scored three runs each as batters, and Natasha Shade scored three runs as the designated runner for Koldys.
In the circle, Koldys struck out three on just three hits with one unearned run and one walk. Montemagni struck out one on two walks, 17 hits and nine earned runs.
With the win, Pittsfield improves to 20-1 on the year, with all 20 wins coming in a row. The team is now off to the D-I semifinals at UMass for the second consecutive season. Their opponent in this year's semifinals will be the team the Generals lost to in last year's championship game in Agawam. No. 3 Agawam topped No. 6 East Longmeadow 6-0 on Thursday.
Pittsfield beat Agawam already this season, 1-0, on April 18. But the Generals know Brownies pitcher Allison Wheeler will be a tough nut to crack. With five days to prepare, the Generals are going to focus on figuring out how to make consistent contact.
"We have to get ready for Wheeler," Marchbanks said. "We know what she throws, she has that curveball, she has a little bit of a rise, she's going to make you try to hit her pitch.
"The difference between last year and this year is I taught myself how to throw it. They're going to see a lot of curveballs from me. ... We'll be ready, we'll be ready for her this year."
Mik Montemagni and Alicia Lacosse, Emily Koldys and Hayley Tobin. W—Koldys, L—Montemagni. 2B — CC 1 (Alyssa Johnson). 3B — P 2 (Toni Satrape, Abby Santos). HR — P 1 (Allie Hunt).
Contact Geoff Smith at 413-496-6254.