AMHERST, Mass. -- The Mount Everett softball team put the pressure on second-seeded Turners Falls throughout Thursday’s Western Massachusetts Division 3 semi-final.
But Turners turned in the plays it needed to make and escaped with a 3-1 victory and a date in Saturday’s sectional final against Hoosac Valley.
MacKenzie Phillips struck out eight and Gabby Arzuaga went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs to help Turners Falls (21-1) preserve its hopes for a third straight sectional title.
Mount Everett earned five hits off Phillips and had runners on in four different innings, but Emily Coon’s sixth-inning single up the middle generated the Eagles’ lone run.
“I’m very proud of the girls,” Mount Everett coach Kurt DeGrenier said. “They played very hard. They played very hard all year. We were a key hit away from tying the game up a couple of times. I couldn’t be prouder of the girls.
“MacKenzie’s just tough. She’s flat out tough. So when you get girls on second and third, you’ve got to try get that key hit. She’s just tough. She shut us down.”
Turners opened the scoring in the bottom of the first.
Hailey Whipple got things started with a one-out, infield single, and she went to third on Alyson Murphy’s single to center field. Murphy took second base, and after Chandler DeGrenier got the second out on a strikeout, Arzuaga belted a single to left.
Mount Everett left fielder Kersten Cutlip fired the ball home and appeared to catch the second runner crossing the plate. But the umpire ruled that Murphy slid under the tag to make it 2-0.
Turners tacked on a run in the fourth when Abby Lloyd singled and came all the way around on Melissa Hersey’s double to left center to give the favorites a 3-0 cushion.
Mount Everett had chances in the top of the fourth, when it put runners at second and third with two out, and in the top of the fifth, when Cutlip hit a leadoff double. But in the fourth, Phillips got a strikeout to strand two, and in the fifth, Turners turned a 5-3-5 double play to erase the threat.
The Eagles finally broke through for a run in the sixth.
Gwen Carpenter reached on an error and went to third on Devan Galli’s single. Emily Coon then drove Carpenter home with a single to left. Galli ended up on third and Coon took second on a double steal, but Phillips got a strikeout and a fly ball down the first base line to end the inning.