Tyngsborough Holds Off Pittsfield in State Semi-Finals

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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WORCESTER, Mass. – A four-run fifth inning for the Tyngsborough softball team proved to be too much for even Pittsfield’s potent offense to overcome in an 8-4 loss in the Division 4 State Semi-Finals at Worcester State on Wednesday.
Kiley Hogan went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and struck out five to send the second-seeded Tigers (22-2) into Friday’s state title game against No. 1 Joseph Case (22-1), a 2-0 winner over Advanced Math and Science Academy to close out the other half of the bracket.
Third-seeded Pittsfield finishes the season with a record of 21-4, a Western Massachusetts Championship and one of the most potent offenses in the state.
On Wednesday, that offense battled from behind most of the afternoon and put pressure on Tyngsborough right up until the final out.
Neveah Lopez and Isabella MacDonald each had a pair of hits, and the Generals collected five walks.
But Hogan managed to strand eight runners on base, including two when her teammate Carly DiMento made a diving catch in center field to leave a pair in scoring position in the top of the seventh.
“I think we could have definitely hit better than that,” Pittsfield coach Brian MacDonald said. “But we definitely fouled balls off and made her work as much as we possibly could. We just didn’t find the gaps that we usually find.
“Some of our bigger hitters kind of struggled today … but there was a lot of fight in all these girls.”
Pittsfield struck first in the top of the first, taking advantage of Mia Arpante’s leadoff walk.
She was replaced at first by Amanda Pou on a fielder’s choice, and Pou moved to scoring position on Lopez’ ground ball out before MacDonald ripped a single up the middle to drive in the game’s first run.
Tyngsborough answered right away with a run in the bottom of the inning and took the lead with two in the third when Hogan hit her second RBI double of the game and scored on an RBI groundout.
The Generals cut the 3-1 deficit in half with a run in the top of the fifth.
Another leadoff walk led to the score. This time it was Ella Bassi working the free pass. She stole second base and came in on Lopez’ RBI single to make it 3-1.
But that was all the Generals could get despite ending the inning with runners on second and third base.
In the bottom of the frame, it was Tyngsborough’s turn to cash in on free passes.
The first two Tigers to the plate each drew a walk, and the Generals’ opted to intentionally walk the hot-hitting Hogan.
Pou got the next hitter swinging, but the Tigers’s Madison Mical dropped a single into right to score two runs, and the next two hitters each drove in a run to give Tyngsborough a 7-2 cushion.
Pittsfield got one run back in the top of the sixth with an RBI double from Bassi. But Tyngsborough used back-to-back extra-base hits from top of its lineup to push the margin back to five runs heading to the seventh.
Pou reached on a one-out infield single for Pittsfield and moved to third on a pair of pitches in the dirt before scoring on MacDonald’s two-out infield single. Kamryn Renata then reached on a two-base throwing-error to give the Generals two runners in scoring position.
That’s when pinch-hitter Mia DeJesus punched an 0-2 pitch into center field.
“MIa is a fantastic ballplayer,” Brian MacDonald said. “She’s a great hitter. Honestly, she probably should have been in the lineup throughout the whole game. But for her to come through and do her job and smack that ball in that last at-bat, good on her. She should be proud of that.”
Tyngsborough’s DiMento made the catch on the dive, and as she rolled over bobbled the ball on what appeared to be the transfer to her throwing hand.
From the third base coaches box, MacDonald thought she lost control sooner than that.
“She dropped the ball,” he said. “She made a heroic diving attempt, but I feel like she dropped the ball, and the umpire wasn’t gonna change his mind. He had it in his head that she caught the ball, and that stopped us in our tracks. There’s nothing we can do.”
Tyngsborough coach April Eringis-Leonard had a different perspective on the play.
“To be honest, I call [DiMento] that golden retriever of the outfield, so I have full confidence when the ball gets hit to her,” Eringis-Leonard said. “I give her the green light to do anything that she wants. It paid off this time, and, honestly, what’s there to lose? We’ve got two outs, and if it goes by her, we’re still up by a couple. So I think it was a good opportunity for her to go all out for it.
“She did, and she made the catch.”
Although the Generals will not have any more chances for heroic plays of their own this spring, their run to the state’s Final Four will not soon be forgotten.
“It’s just an amazing feeling,” Brian MacDonald said of reaching the state semi-finals. “Like I told them, they should be extremely proud of themselves. They came very far in two short years. And there’s nothing we did wrong.
“They’ve got to know that. They didn’t do anything wrong. They’ve got to be proud of what they’ve done. This was a huge accomplishment to get here, and I’m happy to have been a part of it.”
Photos from this game to come.
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