Mount Greylock softball falls in Western Mass. semifinal to reigning champ Turners Falls
The win sends the four-time reigning champions back to the Western Mass. Division III final. The Thunder will face Mount Everett in a rematch of last year's championship game on Saturday.
Greylock failed to draw first blood, leaving the bases loaded in the first inning. Starting pitcher Lilly Lesieur kept the Thunder at bay, retiring the side in order on three long fly balls. But, the deep flies were a signal for what was to come.
Turners starting pitcher Jade Tyler found her rhythm, striking out the side in order in the second. Hailey Bogusz reached base on an error to lead off the bottom half of the inning. Tyler followed with a blast to the top of the left field bleachers for a two-run homer. Peyton Emery went back-to-back with a solo home run to left, putting Turners up 3-0.
Lesieur stopped the bleeding and retired the next three batters she faced. Turners scored nine runs over the final four innings to put the game away. Despite the score, Greylock's freshman starter handled the stage with poise.
The Western Mass. semifinal was just the second game Lesieur had pitched since a fractured bone in her right wrist forced her to miss five games.
"She's just a fierce competitor," Greylock coach June Blake said. "When she went down and got hurt, no one was more disappointed than she was. She was bound and determined to come back after the five-game layoff. She came back against Smith Academy and just shook every thing off. Got the rust off a little bit and threw a pretty good game.
"I'm sure [allowing two home runs] can deflate you a little bit confidence-wise. Honestly, I don't think Lilly is the type of pitcher that has to take a step back and loses a little bit of confidence. She goes up every pitch and is trying to throw her best possible pitch. That's just the way she plays. 100 percent. She's going to be a great player for this program in the coming years."
Greylock followed their pitcher's lead, showing no signs of defeat after the home runs. Kayla Cerveira reached base on an error with one out in the third. Lesieur moved her to second with a bunt single. Jordyn Codding put Greylock on the board with a double. Taylor Cornell followed with a RBI single.
With Marley Buffis at the plate, the Mounties craftiness almost came back to bite them.
Cornell tied to execute a delayed steal of second to give Codding time to score from third. The Turners catcher fired back to the pitcher as Cornell broke for second, catching Codding in a rundown as she headed for home. Tyler had Codding out with a strong throw back to third, but the Turners third baseman dropped the ball, allowing Codding to score. Codding's run tied the game at 3-3.
Cornell and Codding led the offense with two hits each.
Playing against powerhouse Turners Falls was an eye-opening experience for the young Mounties. As one of the few seniors on the team, shortstop Elena Cerveira can appreciate reaching the Western Mass. semis for the first time in Blake's eight-year tenure.
"It honestly means a lot," Cerveira said. "Our team worked hard to be here. ... We've played Turners Falls in the past and they've always crushed us right off the bat. This game we battled hard. We had the bases loaded a couple times, we got even with them, I definitely think we deserved to be here.
"Even though it wasn't the outcome we hoped for, I think we definitely battled hard."
The reigning D-III juggernaut loaded the bases in the bottom of the third, squeezing the go-ahead run across on a passed ball. Lesieur got a K to get out of the jam, but the damage was done and the Thunder late exacerbated things. Turners plated four in the fourth, before getting out of a bases-load, one-out jam in the fifth. Four more Thunder runners came home in the sixth.
Greylock 003 000 0 — 3 7 3
Turners 031 404 x — 12 12 2
Lilly Lesieur and Jordan Codding. Jade Tyler (4), Peyton Emery (3) and Allison Murphy. WP — Tyler. LP — Lesiuer. 2B — MG (Codding). TF 3 (A. Murphy, Whittier, Tyler). HR — 2 (Tyler, Emery).
Akeem Glaspie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @TheAkeemGlaspie on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
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