Pelkey's Poke Gives Mounties Walkoff Win over Taconic

By Stephen Sports
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – After she gave her team a walkoff win, A.J. Pelkey got to ride off the field on the back of a teammate on Sunday afternoon.
Pelkey delivered an infield single with two out in the bottom of the seventh to bring home Kelsey Machaffie and cap a two-run rally for a 9-8 win over Taconic.
“I was really nervous,” Pelkey said of her at-bat. “I was, like, shaking. I don’t know what was going through my head. I just knew that I wanted to hit it and just get one run.
“I was just looking for the right pitch, and that wasn’t it. But I was just looking for something that would get one run in. … I was just trying to forget everything else I did this game and try to get it done right here.”
Pelkey was 0-for-4 going into her final at-bat, but she delivered when it counted after the bottom of the Mounties’ order put her in position to end a back-and-forth contest.
Taconic reliever Anna Bongini started the inning by retiring the first two hitters on ground balls, but No. 7 hitter Abby Whitley recorded her second hit of the game to start the winning rally.
Machaffie followed with a single up the middle, and Madi Barber was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the top of the order.
Brodi Rosier, who hits nearly .500 with five home runs on the season, then continued her frustration on Sunday by hitting a ground ball, but an error allowed Whitley to score and kept the inning alive to get to Pelkey.
“They’ve been working really hard in practice,” Mount Greylock coach Mark Pierson said of the bottom of Mount Greylock’s order. “We made a few adjustments on their swings. And Abby [Whitley] and Kelsey [Machaffie] and Mia [Filliault], all my younger girls have done well, and it’s helped our whole lineup.”
It was an exciting game even without Pelkey’s seventh-inning heroics.
Emma Newberry put a charge into things with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the second to give the Mounties a 1-0 lead.
The Thunder answered in the top of the second when Brenna McNeice doubled to drive in Chey Goddard and scored on a single by Leena Schettini to put Taconic ahead, 2-1.
Mount Greylock then got to work on offense, scoring five times in the bottom of the third.
Malia Koffi started things out with a one-out homer to left.
Then the Mounties loaded the bases on two errors and a walk for Whitley, who singled to left to give her team a 3-2 lead.
Machaffie’s three-run double to left pushed that lead to 6-2.
The Mounties (11-5) tacked on a run in the fourth when Newberry doubled and scored on Kami Sweet’s single up the middle to put Taconic down, 7-2.
But the Thunder (5-10), who have been battling through injuries and have as many games decided by three runs or fewer as anyone in the county, did not back down.
Taconic’s No. 9 hitter, Laynie Burke, led off the top of the fifth with a triple down the right field line. She then came home on an error.
McNeice reached on a fielder’s choice, Bongini singled and Schettini reached on an error to bring Amelia Leasure to the plate.
Leisure lofted a grand slam over the left field fence to tie the game, 7-7.
“I’m happy for these kids,” Taconic coach Jaclyn Candalet said. “We’ve been battling all year.
“Throwing Cheyenne [Goddard] out there, and for a freshman, she stepped up and did what we’ve asked her to do. … We were down 7-2, and we could have folded it in and said, ‘We’re done for today.’ But they fought right back.”
Goddard lasted three innings allowing two earned runs, before leaving after taking a ball off the leg. Bongini allowed just one earned run in four innings to end up the hard-luck loser.
“That’s the first time we’ve thrown her all year,” Candalet said. “She didn’t even warm up. I just said, ‘We’re putting you in.’ And she threw great for us. We got what we wanted – ground balls. And we had two outs [in the seventh]. We just couldn’t get that last out.”
But with Bongini retiring the Mounties in order in the fifth and sixth, the Thunder could take a lead.
Goddard reached on a fielder’s choice and got to second to give Taconic a runner in scoring position with two out in the top of the sixth.
The Mounties’ second error of the inning and sixth of the game allowed Goddard to score all the way from second and put Taconic ahead, 8-7, setting the stage for Mount Greylock’s winning rally one inning later.
Through games played Thursday, the Mounties were ranked fifth in the state in Division 5 in the latest MIAA power rankings. Since then, they have won three games.
And with two games left to play until the Western Mass tournament, Sunday’s matinee is sure to give Mount Greylock a lift.
“I think this is going to be a huge confidence booster because we came back after I know everyone was probably down, even if they weren’t showing it,” Pelkey said. “I think this is really going to help us bring it into next week.”
Mount Greylock finishes the regular season with games on Tuesday against Wahconah and Friday against Hoosac Valley. Taconic hosts Greenfield, the top team in D5, on Monday before going to play the Green Wave in the regular season finale on Tuesday.
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