Ely, Taconic Rally to End Mount Greylock's Season
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- When the Mount Greylock softball team started the season 4-7, the Western Massachusetts tournament seemed like it might be way out of reach.
On Sunday afternoon, the Mounties came as close as any team ever came without grabbing the brass ring.
With two out, two strikes and two-on in the bottom of the seventh inning, Taconic's Amanda Ely was too much for Mount Greylock to handle.
Ely's double into left field drove in both runners to give Taconic a 6-5 win that ended Mount Greylock's season with a record of 9-11 -- one win short of the tournament.
But even though the Mounties will not be lacing up their spikes again this spring, their coach could not be prouder of the run they made to get within a whisker of Western Mass.
"This last part of the season -- as a coach, you want to see your team playing its best softball," June Blake said. "And we were. I definitely felt we were playing our best softball. We had some big wins over Hoosac Valley, over Mount Anthony (Vt), a 1-0 win, to put ourselves in this situation.
"And then the win yesterday, 3-2, over St. Joe's, a tough game. We showed a lot of character. We showed a ton of character. And we battled in this game. We were right there at the finish line.
"Taconic didn't quit, and they come up with some big hits, and that's the way it plays out."
Taconic (11-8) trailed 5-1 midway through the fifth inning and 5-2 heading to the bottom of the seventh.
Anna Sarabia started the winning rally with a single to left. Then Kendall Frye, who pitched out of jams all day for the Mounties, got the next two hitters on a strikeout and a foul popup to catcher Olivia DiNicola.
Then Mount Greylock's defense, which had been stellar all day, gave up back-to-back errors in the infield.
A clean single up the middle by Lauren Aitken drove in one run, and she moved into scoring position on the throw to put runners at second and third for Ely.
After falling behind 0-2, Ely launched the ball deep into left field, and when she ended up on second base, the Mounties knew their dreams of the postseason were over.
Even if it took a moment for most of the Taconic players to realize that the game was over.
"I didn't know if I hit the ball it would be the winning runs," Ely said.
"I didn't even know what the score was, to be honest with you, because I was frustrated with the errors in the infield. And then we just hit the ball. We know we can hit."
Ely hit as well as anyone on Sunday, going 3-for-5 with the double and two RBIs.
She also scored the game's first run in the bottom of the first on a one-out groundout by Kirsten McNeice.
Mount Greylock came back with two runs in the third. DiNicola hit an infield single off the glove of pitcher Decker to score Voller and Allison Shand.
The Mounties built on their lead with a three-run fifth that saw Taconic commit two of its four errors on the day.
Celeste Gravel started the inning by dropping a single into right field, and Shand reached on an error. A passed ball got both runners into scoring position for Miranda Voller.
Voller ripped a double deep into left that scored both runners. She went to third on the throw, and when that throw got away, Voller scored to make 5-1.
The play came at a cost for Mount Greylock, which saw Shand sustain an injury sliding into home plate. Sophomore Samantha Betti came off the bench to fill in in right field, and she made a couple of big plays down the stretch -- ranging well to her right for one fly ball and snagging a line drive to end the sixth inning with two runners on base.
Taconic did get a run back in the bottom of the fifth. Kelsey Bell singled, moved up on an error and scored on Tierney Crocker's single up the middle to make it 5-2.
Decker got the win in the circle for Taconic, striking out three and allowing just two earned runs.
Frye took the loss after being asked to take over the pitching chores for Mount Greylock midway through the season.
"She's that type of player," Blake said of Frye, a senior who came into the season as the Mounties' starting catcher. "You can ask anything of her, and she'd give it a 100 percent and do whatever she possibly could to get our team to win games.
"She's that kind of player and that kind of leader on our team. I can't say enough about Kendall, the way she goes out and plays the game. She never gets rattled. And she really stepped up for us this year and did an awesome job for us."