Mount Everett Softball Earns Place in Western Mass Final
AMHERST, Mass. -- Midway through the second inning of Thursday's Western Massachusetts Division 3 softball semi-final, the Mount Everett Eagles had committed two errors and given up two walks and a triple.
They were looking like anything but the No. 2 seed that they are.
But Mount Everett turned things around and scored three runs in the bottom of the second en route to an 8-1 win over Pioneer and a berth in Saturday's sectional finals against top-seeded Turners Falls.
"we didn't have our 'A' game, and we got away with one, absolutely," Mount Everett coach Kurth DeGrenier said. "I'm proud of the girls for digging deep, finding ways to score those runs, but that's not our 'A' game."
Alli Brassard went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and two RBIs, and Chandler DeGrenier struck out six while allowing no earned runs as Mount Everett (21-2) won its seventh straight.
DeGrenier said he did not feel that his team looked past the 14th-seeded Pioneers (12-11). Instead, he said his Eagles were a little nervous stepping onto the University of Massachusetts' Sortino Field.
"I didn't expect us to be that nervous. We've been here a lot of times. But they were," DeGrenier said. "I hope this game settled them in and prepared them for the final.
"We didn't overlook the seed at all. They were prepped and ready. I think it was nerves and we just didn't get it going. Hitting is contagious, and Chandler didn't have her 'A' game, but she battled through. She didn't have her 'A' game, and the scoreboard says she only gave up four hits, so that's not bad, but it still wasn't her 'A' game."
Pioneer surprised Mount Everett with a two out triple to center field in the top of the first. But DeGrenier got the cleanup hitter to swing at a third strike to end the threat.
In the second, two Mount Everett errors on the same play and a walk allowed Pioneer to push the game's first run across on a sacrifice bunt back to the circle.
In the bottom of the second, Tori Seward led off with an infield single and moved up when Madison Ullrich drew a one-out walk. An error on a grounder from Sara Beckwith loaded the bases, and Seward came home on a wild pitch to tie the game.
After a strikeout gave Pioneer the second out of the inning, Brassard singled on a ball in the infield, and indecisiveness on the defense allowed Beckwith to come home behind Ullrich, making it 3-1.
Chandler DeGrenier drove in an insurance run in the third to help Mount Everett go ahead, 5-1. In the sixth, the Eagles added three more runs thanks to a double from Ullrich, singles by Brassard and Jackie Derwitsch, a couple of walks and an error.
DeGrenier also got stronger in the circle as the game went on. After stranding six runners through the first five innings, she sat down the side in order in the sixth and seventh to close out the win.
On Saturday, the Eagles will look for her to continue that kind of pitching against Turners Falls (20-2) which has won eight state championships in the 2000s, including the last two.
"Turners knows us, we know them, we have to bring our 'A' game to be in the game with them," Kurt DeGrenier said. "That's all. You've got to tear the title from their death grip to take it from them. But we've done it before. We have to show up and play and give them a run for their money."