Wahconah Bounces Back from First Loss to Beat Hoosac Valley

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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ADAMS, Mass. -- The Wahconah and Hoosac Valley softball teams each came into Thursday’s game with a chance to make an early-season statement.
And in a way, each did.
Wahconah washed out the taste of a heart-breaking, extra-innings loss to Pittsfield earlier in the week.
The Hurricanes showed for the second straight game that they can play with two of the top teams in Western Massachusetts.
Jess Duma went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Abby Wells struck out six to lead Wahconah to a 5-0 win on Russell Field.
“Hoosac’s a very good team,” Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said. “I told the ladies yesterday after practice: You know, this is a big moment for us to see how we respond, because, obviously, that was a tough loss for us for a number of reasons.
“And I’m really proud of the way we came back today. We executed when we had to, manufactured some runs and played good defense. I’m really happy with how they responded.”
And, but for one bad inning, Hoosac Valley had a lot to be proud of as well.
Playing a 2018 Western Massachusetts champion (Pittsfield) and a 2018 Western Mass finalist (Wahconah) in the span of three days, the Hurricanes slipped to 4-2 on the season but showed that they can compete with top-tier competition.
“It was great to play Pittsfield and Wahconah back-to-back,” Hoosac Valley coach Mike Ameen said. “We lost both games, but we went toe-to-toe with Pittsfield [in a 4-2 loss] and toe-to-toe with Wahconah, and we’ve got 14 games left.
“We’ve only played six games, and we’ve proven to ourselves that we’re with the best teams in the county. So that’s all you can ask for. Now you have to go out and execute. … But from a confidence standpoint, they should understand that they should be competitive with anybody.”
Wahconah took advantage of a pair of Hoosac Valley errors to score three times in the top of the second to take control of the game.
Duma led off with a single and went to third when Rachel Kays reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt.
Hoosac’s Madi Puppolo (seven Ks, one earned run) then struck out a pair, but Hailey Lenski drove in two with a single. She moved up on the throw home and scored one batter later on a two-base throwing error to make it 3-0.
In the third, Wahconah used a pair of sacrifice bunts to extend its lead.
After Kaylee O’Bryan led off with a single up the middle, Duma bunted her to second, a wild pitch sent O’Bryan to third, and Kays dropped her second bunt of the day to make it 4-0.
“Rachel Kays did a nice job,” Belcher said. “She did her job a couple of times. We had the safety squeeze. We the slash, scoring on Duma’s slash [in the fifth]. We did a good job offensively making things happen.
“We haven’t done a good job consistently doing it, and today I thought we were a little more consistent.”
Hoosac Valley, meanwhile, put early pressure on Wells, but she was able to pitch her way out every time.
Syrah Bradley led off the bottom of the first with a single to left, stole second and moved up on a fly ball, but Wells got the final out on a swinging strike to strand her at third and keep the game scoreless.
In the second, Logan Stansfield walked and moved up on a ground ball with two out. But Wells got out No. 3 to pop up back to the circle.
In the third, Hoosac Valley loaded the bases with one out, but Wells got a called third strike and a bounceback to herself to end the threat.
The Hurricanes’ next threat did not come until the bottom of the seventh, when Katie Braman and Lauren Faucher singled with one out. But Wells got a strikeout looking for the second out. The game’s final out then came on a liner up the middle that ticked off Wells’ glove to shortstop Morgan Marauszwski, who made an off-balance toss to Kays at second to end the game.
Wahconah (4-1) goes to Chicopee Comp on Saturday.
Hoosac Valley (4-2) hosts Lee on Tuesday.
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