NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- A towering home run, a valiant comeback bid and a protracted conference all factored into Pizza House's 8-7 win over Armory Tattoo/Freight Yard Pub in the Pat Torchia/North Adams Women's Softball League playoffs.
Robin Finnegan hit the homer, a solo shot to left center in the top of the fifth inning, and Michelle Rickert pitched a complete game to lead Pizza House.
It awaits the survivor of the loser's bracket in the double-elimination tournament. On Tuesday, Armory Tattoo will meet the winner of Monday's game between Hoosac Heating and Cooling and Firehouse Cafe.
On Wednesday at Disanti Field, Pizza House led throughout, but Armory staged a big comeback in the late innings.
An RBI single by Leah Thompson drove in the game's first run and started Pizza House on the road to a 6-1 lead through 5-1/2 innings. Thompson, Sara Rougeau and Morgan Kierstad each had a couple of hits to help build that advantage.
Finnegan (2-for-4, three runs scored) made a half-dozen plays in left field to help Rickert silence Armory's bats.
But those bats woke up in the sixth, when Armory rallied for three runs on four hits. Rickert got a strikeout to end the rally with the bases loaded and Pizza House clinging to a 6-4 lead.
It picked up some insurance runs in the top of the seventh, and it ended up needing both.
In the bottom of the seventh, Armory scored three more times -- the last two on a two-out hit by Erika Valenzuela that scored two runners. The second runner collided with Pizza House's Thompson behind the plate, and Pizza House argued that league rules require a runner to slide on any play at home.
But after a long consultation between the umpires and a check of the rule book, the run counted.
Rickert then got the final out on a line drive to Finnegan to send Pizza House home happy.