Wahconah Softball Bows Out in State Semi-Finals
WESTFIELD, Mass. – The Wahconah softball team has some bright days in its future.
Unfortunately for the program, the present edition of the squad saw its road come to an end on Wednesday evening.
Izzy Levasseur went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI to lead a nine-hit attack for Amesbury, which advanced to the Division 4 State Championship game with a 7-1 win at Westfield State.
Alana Delisle and Olivia DeLong combined to strike out 13 hitters, and Wahconah managed just two hits as it was held to one run for just the second time this year and finished the season with a 22-3 record.
For coach Dustin Belcher, the most bitter pill to swallow was the fact that he will not get to coach his players one more time in practice on Thursday.
But the up side is that just three players graduate from a squad that figure to contend again in 2023.
“Great group of seniors, they battled,” Belcher said. “The seniors led the way.
“We’ll build off it, but at the same time, I think what will motivate us more is we got a taste of it, and we’ll be hungry to finish the job in a year. … [Louis] Carkuff coming in the game like that for [Olivia] Wehner behind the plate. Carkuff is a junior and is in line to be the catcher, so getting an opportunity to do that was huge today.
“And she did a good job.”
As a team, Wahconah had its struggles defensively on Tuesday, including a pair of errors in the top of the sixth to help Amesbury score two runs to pad their lead.
Avery Vale-Cruz was not as overpowering in the circle as she has been all spring against the tournament’s No. 2 seed. She struck out six and did not walk anyone, but Amesbury rattled off three hits in back-to-back innings to build a 5-0 lead in the third and fourth.
Ella Bezanson hit a two-out RBI triple in the third-inning rally that gave her team a 3-0 lead.
Vale-Cruz immediately answered with a one-out solo home run down the right field line in the fourth to get Wachonah on the board and in the game.
But DeLong struck out the next two hitters to stem any momentum from Vale-Cruz’s blast, and Amesbury tacked on two runs in the bottom of the fourth with three straight hits from the middle of its order.
Wahconah’s best chance to put Amesbury on its heels went by the boards in the top of the first.
Emma Belcher worked a leadoff walk, and Vale-Cruz hit a one-out double. Tayler Hickey then hit a line drive to the outfield that turned into a double play to extinguish the threat.
“We missed an opportunity there in the first inning, obviously,” Belcher said. “We were a little unlucky. I thought the ball was hit hard. We talk about being aggressive, and [Vale-Cruz] was trying to be aggressive on the play. But we missed an opportunity.
“And then we just made some miscues defensively that hurt us. Too many innings, they got extra outs. … At the end of the day, if we get a couple of runs in the first – my mindset coming in was, ‘We need three [runs] to win.’ If we were going to be in the game and win the game, it had to be 3-1, 3-2, something like that. Obviously, you’re going to get eight runs against Amesbury, so we had to keep the score down.”
Amesbury moves on to a Saturday state title game at Sortino Field at UMass-Amherst against Joseph Case, a 2-1 winner over Littleton on Tuesday.