Hoosac Valley Softball Reaches Western Mass Final
AMHERST, Mass. -- The Hoosac Valley softball team’s Plan B was an A-plus.
Down to its final two outs in Thursday’s Western Massachusetts Division 3 semi-finals, Hoosac changed up its strategy, eschewing the bunt and swinging away.
And as a result, the Hurricanes will take their next swings in Saturday’s sectional final against two-time defending champion Turners Falls after earning a 5-1 win over Monson.
The Hurricanes trailed most of the evening at Sortino Field and entered the seventh inning down a run to top-seeded and previously unbeaten Monson.
They rallied to tie the score and had the bases loaded with nobody out when coach Mike Ameen called for a bunt. That play did not go as plan, so Ameen tried a new plan, letting sophomore Abby Jamros swing away, and she lifted a sacrifice fly for the game-winning RBI.
“At that point, I decided I was just going to go for it,” Ameen said. “I tried to get her in with the bunt. Sienna [Witherell] is a great bunter. She’s a leader. I knew she was going to get the bunt down. It was just a matter of where it went and would they make the play.
“Once they did that. I said, ‘The whole year Abby’s been putting the ball in play. She’s been hitting long fly balls.’ … She came through. They came through. Kelsey [Worhle] got a big hit -- an eighth-grader, our number five hitter.”
The game-winning rally started when Haley Adelt drew a walk. Madelyn Caron came on to run for her, and she moved up when Gabby Vincent reached on a bunt. Alyssa Pause was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Kali Puppolo.
Puppolo delivered an RBI single to tie the game and, as Ameen would later say, “opened the floodgates.”
“We were a little shaky because we were down, but we just had to get hits and we did,” said Puppolo, who allowed no earned runs in seven innings of work in the circle. “Things went our way, which is always good.
“I was so excited [to get the game-tying RBI]. I hadn’t hit all day, so it felt good.”
After the failed sacrifice attempt and the successful sacrifice fly to put Hoosac up, 2-1, a balk was called against Monson’s pitcher to give Hoosac a two-run lead.
Wohrle followed with an RBI single, Logan Stansfield singled, and an outfield error allowed a fifth run to cross the plate.
That was more than enough cushion for Puppolo, who allowed just one baserunner in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win.
“They’re tough,” Ameen said of Monson. “They were 21-0 for a reason. The girl throws well. They play good defense. They’re well coached. 21-0, they know how to win.”
Although Monson pitcher Carly Zielinski held the Hurricanes at bay for six innings, Hoosac’s hitters made a key adjustment to get its offense on track.
“She was throwing the rise ball, and I told them to try to lay off it,” Ameen said. “It’s tough. Jennie Finch makes a living throwing rise balls. It’s hard to lay off it. But I tried to get them … to say if it’s up let it go and if it’s down to swing.
“I think that worked a little bit, if only to get them think about something.”