Paronto Leads Thunder Past Pittsfield

By Stephen Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Rylee Paronto hit a triple and two doubles, and the Taconic softball team exploded for four runs in the top of the first en route to a 6-3 win over Pittsfield at PHS on Saturday afternoon.
Paronto also went the distance in the circle, allowing just two earned runs in pitching the Thunder to a 3-0 start.
As good as that undefeated record might feel, the main focus on Saturday was who that third win came against.
“This is a huge win for us,” Paronto said. “On their field?
“We’ve been trying to beat them for four years. For a while, but, for me, four years. This is an awesome win.”
Her coach agreed that the early season win was a big step for the program.
“It means a lot – not only for me but for these kids,” Jaclyn Candalet said. “These kids have never done it before in this sport. I’m not even sure it’s been done, probably since I was in high school.
“It means a lot for the whole entire program. But it means a lot to these kids, and I’m proud of them.”
Paronto got the game going with a triple to left on the first pitch she saw. She then came home on Julia Pierce’s double to right center to make it 1-0.
Pierce moved up on a ground ball out and scored from third on Leena Schettini’s single.
Lydiah Hadsell, running for Schettini, the catcher, scored on Chey Goddard’s single. Goddard went to second on the throw and scored on Maddie Harrington’s base hit.
In all, Taconic collected seven hits to account for their four runs as it batted around in the first.
“I always say, ‘We’re up first, let’s score first and give ourselves a lead going into the bottom of the first inning,’ “ Candalet said. “Sometimes we execute, sometimes we don’t. Today, we did a great job. I couldn’t be prouder of these kids.”
Pittsfield brought in Amanda Pou in relief of starter Mia Arpante with the bases loaded and two out, and Pou retired Paronto to end the rally.
Generals coach Brian MacDonald said he made a conscious choice not to start Pou, who went on to allow two runs in 6-? innings.
“Two days ago, [Pou] pitched seven innings,” he said. “So I didn’t want to use her. I’m not here to use and abuse any pitchers until their arms fall off. One of our other pitchers couldn’t pitch today, and the girl who got the start, Mia Arpante, her back was hurting pretty bad. So I reluctantly gave her the start and reluctantly put Amanda in. Like I said, I’m not here to have anyone’s arm fall off.”
Pittsfield’s offense broke through for a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, and both Pou and Arpante factored in.
After No. 7 hitter Ava Brazeau started the inning with a double, Paronto got a pair of outs to bring up the top of the order.
Pou singled to set up runners at the corners for Arpante, who doubled both runs in with a double down the left-field line to make it 4-2.
Bella MacDonald then singled, but the Taconic defense got Arpante hung up between third and home and tagged her out to end the inning.
That was one of several big plays for the Thunder’s defense, which doubled off two runners and snared a couple of line drives in the infield, including one by second baseman Brenna McNeice to end the game.
“Two double plays? I don’t think we’ve ever turned two double plays in one game,” Candalet said. “But that pickle? We practice those things at practice, and the kids probably think I’m crazy, but we executed everything.”
After giving up two in the bottom of the third, Taconic got one back in the top of the fourth. 
Paronto started the inning with a shot to right-center and easily would have been on third base except it was ruled a ground rule double. Pierce bunted her to third, and Ella Stodden drove her home with a groundout.
After Pittsfield got back within two runs in the fifth when Ella Bassi singled and eventually scored on an error, Taconic finished the scoring with a run in the sixth.
Again, Paronto had a triple taken away when the ball got by the fence in right center. This time, she moved up on a groundout and scored on Stodden’s single up the middle to make it 6-4.
Taconic (3-0) will face another test on Monday when Turners Falls visits Valentine Road. Pittsfield (4-3)) goes to Hampshire Regional on Tuesday.
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