Mount Everett Softball Wins Tourney Opener, Honors Veterans

By Stephen Sports
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SHEFFIELD, Mass. -- It took Mount Everett’s bats a while to adjust on Friday afternoon, and then they were just devastating.
The Eagles pounded out 17 hits, including three home runs, and got a one-hit shutout in the circle from Chandler DeGrenier to beat Springfield Commerce, 20-0, in five innings and advance to Monday’s quarter-finals of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament.
Commerce starter Breanna Marchena, a non-windmiller, attacked the plate with a slower delivery than a lot of high school pitchers, and for a while she was able to limit the damage.
Second-seeded Mount Everett (19-2) scored just once in the first inning and six times in the second. But the second and third time through the order, the Eagles got the hang of things and hung 11 runs on the board in the third inning.
Kersten Cutlip delivered the first big blow with a towering home run over the left field fence to bring home three runs and make it 7-0.
In the third, Allie Brassard adjusted to the fact that Commerce (12-9) had its defense shifted to the left side to adjust for all the balls Mount Everett was pulling against Marchena. Brassard’s line drive down the first base line rolled through a vacant right field, allowing her to get around the bases for a three-run, inside-the-park home run.
In the fourth, Madison Ullrich hit one out of the park to score two runs and provide the final margin.
“It’s hard to adjust, but they did, though,” Mount Everett coach Kurt DeGrenier said of his hitters. “They did a good job staying back, keeping their hands back and putting the ball in play, hitting line drives hard.
“They did a good job once they saw it for an inning.”
Ullrich went 4-for-4, and Cutlip and Devan Galli each went 2-for-3. Chandler DeGrenier was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and a pair of runs scored.
DeGrenier also struck out 10 in five innings of work in the circle.
But her biggest pitch of the afternoon came in an emotional pregame ceremony that featured a color guard of local veterans, a performance of the National Anthem by the Mount Everett marching band and a special salute to Vietnam Veteran Craig Garofano, the grandfather of Chandler and her sister Morgan DeGrenier, who died in 2007.
“He served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969, where, after being wounded, he returned to action,” Kurt DeGrenier wrote in remarks written for the pregame ceremony. “Craig was a family man who was totally committed to his wife, two daughters and extended family.
“His pride and joy were his grandchildren, two of whom [Chandler and Morgan] he never had a chance to see play at this level.”
Chandler threw the opening pitch to Morgan. In addition to the members of the color guard, every veteran in attendance at the game was invited on the field to participate in the ceremony.
“Win or lose, it was a very special day for our veterans,” Kurt DeGrenier said. “They deserved it. I’m glad we could do it for them. I think it went off beautifully. … Half the crowd was in tears.”
Mount Everett hosts Granby on Monday in the sectional quarter-finals.
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