Puppolo Pitches Hoosac to Playoff-Clinching Win
ADAMS, Mass. -- Kali Puppolo struck out 11 Thursday to lead the Hoosac Valley softball team to 6-1 win over Lee that clinched a Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament bid for the Hurricanes.
“I just told them in the huddle: Every season has goals, individual and team,” Hoosac coach Mike Ameen said. “And obviously a big goal is to make the tournament and accomplish that.
“We cleared one hurdle, and it’s on to the next. It’s good to get one behind you, though.”
Puppolo overcame an early 1-0 deficit after Amy Goss led off the game by dropping a single into short right field, moved up on a bunt single, stole third and came home on a sac fly.
She struck out the next two batters she faced and faced just three over the minimum the rest of the way.
“Kali had her average day,” Ameen said. “Eleven, 12 strikeout, no walks. She hit a couple of people, and they got hits. They were definitely hits, but they weren’t ropes or anything like that.
“She keeps us in every game. She gives us a shot. She’s got a lot of maturity out there.”
Sienna Witherell went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs for Hoosac (9-4), which cashed in on four Lee errors to score six unearned runs against Kendra Williams (nine strikeouts).
Hoosac scored all of its runs in the first and fifths, and Hoosac committed two errors in each of those frames.
“I think really it was just those two innings,” Lee coach Lauren Finnegan said. “I feel like we made them have to really work hard the other innings getting on base. I was really proud of that. I was happy with Shannon [Finnegan] and Kendra’s pitch calling today. I thought they did a really nice job doing that.
“Besides those two innings, I thought we played really good defense - very aggressive. Just take those two innings away.”
On the other side, Hoosac played good defense throughout. The ‘Canes committed just one error, a two-base mistake in the top of the second with one out, but Puppolo struck out the next two to end the threat.
The game ended on a strike ‘em out/throw ‘em out double play from catcher Alyssa Pause to shortstop Logan Stansfield.
Even Lee’s run came home on what looked at first to be a double play with a runners on first and third. First baseman Witherell ranged over into foul territory to snag a fly ball and fired to catch the runner off the bag. But the umpire ruled that Witherell carried the ball out of play after the catch, and moved both runners up a base.
“It’s a great improvement from the beginning of the year,” Ameen said. “We’re playing much improved defense, team defense. They started out as individuals, and they ended up playing team defense. I think we saw a little of that today.”