Softball: Weather suspends highly-anticipated Greenfield-Westfield showdown


Staff Writer

Published: 05-02-2023 6:22 PM

WESTFIELD – Mother Nature certainly dampened a matchup between defending state champions on Tuesday.

The highly-anticipated independent contest between defending Division 5 champion Greenfield and Div. 2 champ Westfield lasted just two-plus innings before rain ultimately forced the suspension of play in the top of the third inning.

The teams will resume play at a date and time to be determined. The host Bombers held a 1-0 lead with one out and a Green Wave runner on second base in the third frame when play was suspended.

With rain picking up and the condition of the infield at Westfield High School deteriorating, umpires pulled both teams off the field for a delay that lasted 21 minutes before action was ultimately halted for the day.

Wet weather impacted the first two innings. Greenfield ace MacKenzie Paulin walked four batters in her two innings of work, striking out three, as the rain necessitated a consistent softball substitution as gripping became an issue.

Westfield plated the game’s lone run in the bottom of the second, when Alexandra LaPanne led off the frame with a walk and eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it 1-0. Paulin escaped further damage when she induced a pop out to end the inning.

In the third, Brielle Widelo walked with one out and took second on a wild pitch. With Ellis Benitez standing at the plate, the rain intensified and play was called with puddles pooling throughout the infield dirt.

It was an unfortunate weather day for a game with high stakes, particularly in regard to state tournament seeding purposes. Westfield (8-1) was No. 4 in the most recent MIAA Division 2 Power Ranking release, while the Green Wave (7-2) vaulted into the No. 1 slot in Div. 5. A Green Wave win would certainly be a signature victory as the season reaches its second half.

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Tuesday’s postponement also further adds to the backlog of contests remaining for Greenfield, which also had Saturday’s game against Mount Greylock rained out. As a result, the Wave have nine regular season games left with a cutoff date of May 18 in which to play them before the Western Mass. tournament begins the week of May 22.

Tuesday’s wet weather also impacted other programs throughout Franklin County, as three tennis matches were postponed and the Turners Falls-Smith Academy baseball game was moved from Hatfield to the Powertown due to field conditions.