Turners Topples Mount Everett in D3 Final
AMHERST, Mass. -- The Mount Everett softball team exceeded its coach's expectations by getting to the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship game.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, they got just what they expected from perennial power Turners Falls.
The top-seeded Thunder (20-3) got three hits, including a pair of doubles, from Taryn Thayer en route to an 8-2 win over the Eagles and a fifth straight Western Mass title Saturday on Sortino Field.
"I'm very proud of the way the girls played," Mount Everett coach Kurt DeGrenier said. "I'm going to say it again, if you ask me, [Turners Falls] is the toughest team in Division 1, 2 or 3. We just keep running into them every year.
"I couldn't be prouder. If you asked me three weeks into our season, I wouldn't have put us in the Western Mass finals. These guys dug deep and found their way back here again."
And Mount Everett (15-7) found itself with an early lead when Devan Galli walked, stole second, went to third on Gwendolyn Carpenter's single and scored on a Marion Devoti bunt in the top of the first.
But Turners Falls (20-3) tied it in the bottom of the inning and took the lead with a three-run second.
That rally was helped by a Mount Everett error.
Another Eagles error helped the Thunder tack on a pair of runs in the fourth to push their lead to 6-1.
Turners' offense was also helped by a little luck. The same team that connected for two moonshot home runs in the semi-finals earlier in the week dropped several balls in front of Mount Everett's outfielders in the early going on Saturday.
"That was the game plan," DeGrenier said. "My game plan coming in was to be five steps in front of the warning track. They were hitting bombs in the semi-final. Faith [Angell] kept them off balance, and they hit some flares in front of us.
"That's bad luck. They have power. So them hitting flares -- if you can contain them to flares, normally, that's good. But my plan was to play deep, so my game plan didn't work."
Thayer doubled and scored in the bottom of the eighth, when Turners pushed its lead to 8-1.
Meanwhile, Turners Falls pitcher Jade Tyler pitched her way out of trouble again and again, leaving at least two runners on base in three different innings and leaving them loaded in the top of the sixth.
Finally, Mount Everett cashed in for a run in the seventh. Devoti doubled to lead off and went to third on a wild pitch. She then came home on Madison Ullrich's double down the line.
Ullrich, a junior catcher, is one of a host of Eagles set to return in 2019. Another is Angell, a sophomore who stepped into the circle this spring and led Mount Everett back to the sectional final.
"She has grit," DeGrenier said. "First year varsity starter -- our program is a good program. ... I think we've been to the finals five times in the last nine years. There are expectations, and she fulfilled her expectations.
"Between her and Madi [Ullrich], they worked great this year together. Hopefully, they're both back and work great together next year."
VIDEO: Devan Galli scores from third on Marion Devoti’s bunt in Saturday’s Mount Everett loss to Turners Falls in the Western Mass D3 title game.