Softball: Nine-run first inning helps propel No. 2 Franklin Tech past Drury, 20-2, and into Class C final

Franklin Tech's Hannah Gilbert pitches against Drury in the Western Mass. Class C semifinals at Nancy Gifford Field Thursday.

Franklin Tech's Hannah Gilbert pitches against Drury in the Western Mass. Class C semifinals at Nancy Gifford Field Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/THOMAS JOHNSTON

The Franklin Tech infield huddles around the circle between innings during its Western Mass. Class C semifinal against Drury at Nancy Gifford Field Thursday.

The Franklin Tech infield huddles around the circle between innings during its Western Mass. Class C semifinal against Drury at Nancy Gifford Field Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/THOMAS JOHNSTON

Franklin Tech's Cordelia Guerin cracks a base hit against Drury in the Western Mass. Class C semifinals at Nancy Gifford Field Thursday.

Franklin Tech's Cordelia Guerin cracks a base hit against Drury in the Western Mass. Class C semifinals at Nancy Gifford Field Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/THOMAS JOHNSTON

Franklin Tech's Kylee Gamache knocks a base hit against Drury in the Western Mass. Class C semifinals at Nancy Gifford Field Thursday.

Franklin Tech's Kylee Gamache knocks a base hit against Drury in the Western Mass. Class C semifinals at Nancy Gifford Field Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/THOMAS JOHNSTON

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 05-23-2024 8:13 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Franklin Tech softball coach Joe Gamache couldn’t have dreamed up a better start for his team in Thursday’s Western Mass. Class C semifinal against Drury. 

The second-seeded Eagles came to the plate in the first and their first seven batters made it on base. Kait Trudeau, who led off the inning, smashed a grand slam in her second at bat in the inning, giving Franklin Tech a 9-0 lead after one. 

The Eagles didn’t let up from there, scoring two in the second, four in the third and five in the fourth to run away with a 20-2 victory over the third-seeded Blue Devils in five innings at Nancy Gifford Field. 

“We had a great first inning,” Gamache said. “The girls came out swinging and we hit the ball well. We got a pretty good pitching performance out of Hannah [Gilbert]. Defensively we had a few miscues but that’s a good team and they put it in play. That big first inning was a nice way to set the tone for us.” 

The Eagles (18-2) advance to play the winner of No. 1 Greenfield and No. 4 McCann Tech, who play on Saturday. The finals are scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Westfield State. 

Franklin Tech played the Green Wave earlier in the season, a game Greenfield came out on top, 1-0. 

“We made it to the Western Mass. championship two years ago so we’re happy to be going back,” Gamache said. “There’s a good possibility it’ll be a familiar foe but we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ll see how it goes.” 

Kait Trudeau was hit by a pitch to open the first inning for the Eagles. Trudeau used her speed to beat the throw to second on a ground ball off the bat of Lilly Ross and did the same thing on a throw to third following a ground ball from Hannah Gilbert to load the bases. 

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Kylee Gamache grounded to short and Trudeau beat the throw home, giving Tech the opening the lead of the game. 

The runs flowed from there. Cordelia Guerin smashed a hit up the middle to score Ross and Gilbert and Lilianna Inman cracked a single to drive Gamache and Guerin in, giving the Eagles a 5-0 lead. 

A pair of walks helped load the bases for Trudeau, who demolished a ball over the left field fence for a grand slam, putting Franklin Tech ahead, 9-0, after one. 

“We’ve been working on trying to ramp up here now that it’s the postseason,” Joe Gamache said. “We have to start hitting more and better and the girls bought in and did that today.” 

Guerin singled to open the second and an error allowed her to score. Inman, who reached second on the error, scored on a Gianna DiSciullo base hit to give the Eagles an 11-0 lead after two. 

In the third, Gilbert smashed a double to score Ross and Gilbert later scored on an error. Inman singled to score Guerin and Jenna Petrowicz — who reached on a single — scored after the throw to get her at third on a steal made its way to the outfield, putting the Eagles up, 15-0, going into the fourth. 

Brooke Bishop singled in a run before Olivia Perry doubled to score Bishop in the fourth to put Drury on the board but Franklin Tech responded with five runs in the bottom of the frame. 

Ross, Gilbert, Gamache and Guerin hit consecutive singles early in the inning, Gilbert’s hit scoring Ross. Kyra Goodell cracked a single to drive Gilbert and Gamache in before Skylei Lapan singled Guerin in, giving Tech its 20-2 lead going into the fifth. 

Gilbert pitched all five innings for the Eagles, striking out eight and scattering six hits. 

While Franklin Tech is gearing up for its Western Mass. final Wednesday, it will open the state vocational tournament on Tuesday, hosting Tri-County Regional at 4 p.m. 

“Hopefully we continue to hit,” Joe Gamache said. “It’s the postseason and we have to string some stuff together. We’re going to hopefully be playing a lot of games in a short amount of time. It is what it is. I think we’ll be as prepared as we can be for those.”