Hoosac Softball Team Going Back to UMass
ADAMS, Mass. -- On Tuesday, the Putnam and Hoosac Valley softball teams had a short day because of a thunderstorm.
On Wednesday, they had a short day because of the Hurricanes.
Kelsey Worhle tripled to right-center with two out in the bottom of the fifth to drove home Sienna Witherell and end the two-day Western Massachusetts Division 3 quarter-final with a 12-0 Hoosac Valley victory.
The fourth-seeded ‘Canes (13-7) move on to face undefeated and top-seeded Monson (21-0) in Wednesday’s semi-finals at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Hoosac coach Mike Ameen said the Hurricanes are right where he expected them to be when the season began.
“I know last year we made it to the semis and lost 2-1 in extra innings against a one-seed, Monson, and we didn’t lose anyone to graduation,” Ameen said. “I figured with another year under our belt … I gave us a shot.
“It was definitely a goal. We wanted to play at UMass against Monson. Hopefully it won’t be a ‘be careful what you wish for’ kind of thing. But we want to play the best, and at least we’re there. That’s a big hurdle to cross.”
Witherell went 3-for-4 with three stolen bases, and Haley Adelt went 2-for-3 for the ‘Canes, who scored in four of the five innings they played.
They got things started with two runs in their only trip to the plate on Tuesday before the rains came. Hoosac ended up stealing home twice in the inning -- once on a dropped third strike with the bases loaded; the Putnam catcher mistakenly threw to first even though the base was occupied and the batter could not advance, but Alyssa Pause wisely came home from third for the first of her four runs in the game.
“We put pressure on them,” Ameen said. “We put the ball in play and made them make plays, and in high school, that’s what it’s all about.
“We’ve been on the other end of that: The other team puts the ball in play and makes you make the play. We made the plays today, and they didn’t. That was the difference, I think.”
Hoosac repeatedly took the extra base, like when Adelt raced home from first on a bunt single by Gabby Vincent in the second inning, or when Pause scored from second on Witherell’s bunt single in the fifth.
Meanwhile, Hoosac pitcher Kali Puppolo struck out eight while allowing just a hit and a walk. She pitched four clean innings, running into just a slight hiccup in the third when Putnam’s leadoff hitter singled, and a two-out walk put a pair on the bases.
“Kali gives us a chance in every game,” Ameen said. “Every game, we’re in the game. They have confidence in her. They see her on the mound, that gives them confidence.
“And we have a bunch of kids behind her who make plays, which is a good sign for me as a coach.”