Frontier's Early Lead Too Much for Hoosac Valley
AMHERST, Mass. -- In the end, the Hoosac Valley softball team Friday dug itself too deep a hole.
But that did not stop the Hurricanes from trying to climb their way out.
Frontier scored six times in the third inning and eight times in the fourth to take a 14-3 lead en route to a 16-11 win over the Hurricanes in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 semi-finals on Sortino Field at UMass-Amherst.
“We ended up scoring eight runs after that [fourth],” Hoosac Valley coach Mike Ameen said. “We scored in every inning but one. You’ve just got to look at the positive stuff.”
And there were positives, particularly on the offensive side for the third-seeded Hurricanes, who ended the year 17-5.
Madi Puppolo went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a pair of RBIs. Logan Stansfield, Rylie Bishop, Lauren Faucher and Abby Bird each had a pair of hits, and Rylynn Witek doubled, stole a base and scored three times.
But Frontier (16-7) poured on the offense in the middle innings.
Hoosac Valley led early, using an RBI double by Puppolo to score in the first and picking up two more in the second thanks to a couple of Frontier errors. Katie Braman and Faucher each laid down a sacrifice in the two-run rally that gave the Canes a 3-0 lead.
That margin evaporated in the top of the third.
Frontier batted around with six hits, including a three-run home run to left off the bat of Lily Spencer, to go on top, 6-3.
One inning later, Frontier batted around again, this time with five hits an a couple of Hoosac Valley errors adding up to a 14-3 margin.
But where a lot of teams might have folded the tents and started making summer plans, Hoosac Valley kept fighting.
Bishop’s two-run double highlighted a three-run fifth. Stansfield drove in Witek with a single to left in the sixth. And Witek, Puppolo and Kelsey Wohrle each drove in a run in the seventh.
Unfortunately for Hoosac Valley, it just ran out of time.
But the Hurricanes’ heart showed to all in attendance. And there was more heart then most of them could have known.
“I’m not making excuses at all, but [pitcher] Madi Puppolo’s grandfather died last night,” Ameen said. “She was a wreck. … He was a great fan and a good person. I got a call at 10 o’clock last night saying that he passed away. I told her she didn’t even have to come, and she was here. It was tough for her.
“She showed a tremendous amount of class and character to show up. And I think she got three hits for her team.”
Puppolo, a sophomore, is one of 14 players on this year’s Hoosac Valley roster who will be returning next spring to make a run at a third straight appearance in the sectional’s final four.
Left-fielder Lauren Faucher and first baseman Katie Braman will be missed, however.
“I don’t know what to say about Katie Braman,” Ameen said. “She’s the most respected player I’ve ever coached within the whole team structure. Every single kid on that team respects her and admires her. She’s a true leader. … She wins teammate of the year every time we vote. She’s a great kid.
“[Junior co-captain] Syrah Bradley, there’s nobody that works harder than Syrah Bradley. She jumps out of bed in the morning looking to steal a base. I don’t think she has a weak bone in her body. They’re just two great role models for the future. We’re going to miss Katie, and we’re going to miss Lauren in left field. They’re great kids.”