Mount Everett wins first Western Mass. softball title since 1990
AMHERST -- It was the moment it could all fall apart.
Holding a precarious one-run lead over juggernaut Turners Falls late in the Western Massachusetts Division III final, Mount Everett pitcher Alicia Bazonski could only hope when Mackenzie Salls lofted a tricky pop fly with two runners on.
"Oh my god," Bazonski said. "They were all standing there and I didn't hear anyone [call it]. I was like, ‘Someone, please just catch it!' Then I looked down and Emily [Coon] has it in her glove."
Coon's shoestring catch preserved the lead, allowing Everett to later add two insurance runs in a 3-0 win at the University of Massachusetts. The Eagles, once again, found a way to win, capturing their first sectional title since 1990 and ending the Indians' near decade of dominance.
"I told you right from the start they don't give up," said Everett coach Kurt DeGrenier. "This is the [most special] team I've ever coached as far as their effort and they don't ever give up."
The Eagles (22-1) move on to the state tournament, where they will face Assabet Valley in the semifinals on Tuesday at UMass.
Bazonski finished with six strikeouts and earned her third shutout of this tournament. She allowed just two hits -- both in the first inning. She pitched around those two singles in the first, inducing a groundout with runners on second and third.
Bazonski gave up baserunners on a walk and two errors in the second and sixth innings, but otherwise shut down Turners Falls (20-3), which was seeking a 10th straight Western Mass. title.
"She's a good pitcher," said Indians coach Gary Mullins. "They made some plays. We made some mistakes."
That was evident in the second inning when Everett took the lead. After Sam Hoover walked, Coon got the biggest hit of her brief career. The freshman's single to left was misplayed, allowing Hoover to cruise home for the lead.
The Eagles' two insurance runs came off another pair of errors in the sixth.
"I was really happy," said senior Haley Finn, who scored the first of those two runs. "I just knew we were going to win from there. They were really big. We were nervous about being able to hit off [Turners Falls pitcher] Dakota [Smith-Porter] but we did fine."
The win avenged a 1-0 loss to the Indians in the championship game two years ago and earned Everett just its third sectional title in any sport in school history. The other came last year, when the baseball team reached the state championship game.
That's exactly where the Eagles want to be in less than a week.
"It feels really good," Bazonski said. "We've waited 20 years or something for this."
Everett 3, Turners Falls 0
Turners 000 000 0--0 2 3
Everett 010 002 x--3 3 2
Dakota Smith-Porter and Morgan Ozdarski; Alicia Bazonski and Morgan DeGrenier. W -- Bazonski. L -- Smith-Porter.
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