CHICOPEE, Mass. -- The Hoosac Valley softball team did one thing no other club can take credit for in the 2011 season.
The Hurricanes beat Wahconah, the defending sectional champions from a year ago. Unfortunately for Hoosac, it was unable to knock off the Warriors a second time, losing 6-1 in the semifinals of the Division 2 Western Massachusetts Softball Tournament held at Elms College on Wednesday.
Morgan Shafer's club split a pair of meetings between the two teams this season, earning a 7-3 road win over Wahconah on April 20th. That was the only loss of the season, however, for a Warriors' squad that improved to 21-1 with a victory on Wednesday. Wahconah starter Sam Burgner was intent on not falling to Hurricanes (15-7) again, limiting the fourth seed in the tournament to just one run on seven hits while striking out three batters to earn the win.
The top-seeded Warriors were focused and efficient on Wednesday, playing error-free defense and getting four 1-2-3 innings out of Burgner to keep the Hoosac bats in check. The 'Canes started wearing Burgner down in the last two innings, but were only able to score a single run in the seventh on a single by junior Tanelle Ciempa.
Junior Sabrina Sommer was one of two Hoosac batters with multiple hits, going 2 for 3 with a pair of singles. She gave the Hurricanes some hope in the sixth inning, hitting a two-out single before senior Amanda Meczywor (2 for 3 at the plate) came up with a clutch double in the next at bat. Unfortunately for Hoosac, however, Sommer was gunned down at home plate on a strong throw by Wahconah's Erin Grogan.
Senior Karli Schrade started the seventh inning with a leadoff double before Ciempa knocked her home, but Burgner retired the next two batters after that to end the game.
While the Hurricanes waited until the end of the game to put the pressure on offensively, the Warriors came out of the gates strong against Meczywor. Wahconah scored one run in the first inning, one in the third inning and two each in both the fifth and sixth frames to open a comfortable 6-0 lead.
Meczywor ended a decorated career for Hoosac by allowing five earned runs on 13 hits in six innings of work. She struck out three without allowing a single walk to finish the 2011 season with a record of 11-7. On the year, Meczywor struck out an amazing 104 batters compared to just 12 walks.
Replacing Meczywor, Schrade and Samantha Howe will be a tough task next year, but Shafer has a solid group of returning starters from the 2011 squad that should ensure the Hurricanes build on their success of the past few years.