Taconic softball breaks late tie, wins at Mount Greylock
WILLIAMSTOWN — When vying for a spot in the Western Massachusetts tournament, a three-game streak can make or break you. After 10-straight days off as part of spring break, the Taconic Braves find themselves in the middle of a stretch of three games in three days, which could set the tone for the reminder of the season.
After edging out Frontier by just one run on Monday, the Braves made it two wins in two days with a 6-4 victory over Mount Greylock on Tuesday afternoon.
"It feels great to have them come out and respond two days in a row," coach Jaclyn Candelet said. "They never gave up and kept answering."
A pitching dual developed early as Mount Greylock's Lily Lesieur and Taconic's Kirstyn Carrigan went toe-to-toe. Neither team had a hit through two innings, while each pitcher registered three strikeouts each.
Taea Bramer, who went 1 for 2 and scored twice out of the 8 spot, singled with one out in the top of the third for the Braves (3-1). Addison Lyon, Taconic's 9-hitter, followed it up with one of her two triples to score the game's first run. Taylor Ostrander scored Lyon on a sacrifice bunt to help the Braves to a 2-0 lead.
"I've been playing with the lineup all year and it looks like we have finally started to find some rhythm," Candelet said. "Just because they're at the bottom of the lineup doesn't mean they don't have to do anything. [Bramer, Lyon, and Elle Christopher] are putting the ball into play and it's great to see them contributing."
Jordyn Codding wasted no time cutting into the Taconic lead in the bottom half of the inning. With one out, she worked a nine-pitch walk and quickly stole second base, but the sophomore wasn't done. Codding broke for third on a passed ball, however, she didn't stop there and made it all the way to the plate to score the first run of the game for the Mounties (3-3).
"She is an incredibly smart base runner," Mount Greylock coach June Blake said. "She is quick, has great instincts and can read the ball well."
The Mounties left two runners on in the bottom of the fourth and between innings, Candelet reminded her Braves that they needed to keep the energy up and not get down on themselves. Not only did they respond in the top of the fifth, but they scored at least one run in each of the final three innings.
Again, it was the bottom of the lineup setting the tone for the Braves. This time it was Christopher starting the inning with a single before Bramer reached on a walk. After Christopher scored on a passed ball, Bramer was stuck on third with two outs. Anna Bongini smoked a double that allowed her to score, increasing the Taconic lead to 4-1.
"We just go out there and try to get our best swings in," Bramer said. "We all just picked each other up and knew that if we had each others' back we would come out on top."
Kat Hoffstedt opened up the bottom of the frame with a walk, before Codding smacked a double to set up runners at second and third with no outs. A passed ball scored Hoffstedt and an errant throw back to the plate allowed Codding to keep on rolling all the way around, cutting the Taconic lead to just one.
Next up was Lesieur, and while the sophomore is listed at 5-foot-1, the shortest player on the Greylock roster, she also swings the biggest bat. She crushed a ball down the left field line and got on her horse and didn't dismount until she touched home with the four-bagger, tying the game at four.
"[Lesieur] is a huge boost for the team and is great support for her teammates," Blake said. "She is doing a really good job for us and I felt like we battled from start to finish."
Carrigan's day was over after striking out seven in her four-plus innings of work and Mary Lee took over in the circle for the Braves. While Lee was credited with the win, she played the role of closer and retired seven of the nine batters she faced.
"Coach told me at the beginning of the game to stay warm, alert, and study the batters," Lee said. "I had to put my game face on and push through."
The Braves took the lead for good in the sixth with a Peyton O'Connell triple that scored Jenyka Ostellino. In the top of the seventh Taylar Ostrander knocked in her second run of the day with her second sacrifice bunt that scored Lyon for the second time, who had just hit her second triple.
The Hurricanes were threatening in the bottom of the sixth, but Ostrander laid out for a ball off the bat of Hoffstedt, ending the inning and dousing the Mountie threat. The bout with Mount Greylock was the first Berkshire County game for the Braves and Lee knew how important it was to leave Williamstown with the win.
"It was a huge win," Lee said. "Local teams saw us as an easy target last year, but this year we are putting in our all. Our mentality is to keep pushing and my focus is one pitch at a time and let the defense do what it has to do."
For the Mounties, they're focused on learning from their mistakes and will look to bounce back on Thursday as they host Lenox with first pitch scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
"We were right there," Blake said. "Taconic is a good team. I told them that we need to learn from our mistakes and not let them happen again."
The Braves will look to make it three wins in three days with a home game against Mount Anthony on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
"We had ten days off and now have three-straight games," Candelet said. "Its good to see us dig deep and come around. Hopefully we keep rolling because we have a tough game against Mount Anthony [Wednesday.]"
Taconic 002 021 1 — 6 8 2
Greylock 001 03 0 — 4 4 0
Kirstyn Carrigan (4 2/3), Mary Lee (2 1/3) and Jenyka Ostellino. Lily Lesieur and Brodi Rosier. WP — Lee. LP — Lesieur. 2B — MG 2 (Jordyn Codding, Rosier) T: 1 (Anna Bongini) 3B — T: 3 (Addison Lyon 2, Payton O'Connell) HR — MG 1 (Lesieur).
Jake Mendel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
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