Softball: Turners Falls held off the board in 7-0 loss to Hampshire Regional (PHOTOS)

Turners Falls’ Madi Liimatainen delivers a pitch against Hampshire during the Raiders’ 7-0 victory on Monday in Westhampton.

Turners Falls’ Madi Liimatainen delivers a pitch against Hampshire during the Raiders’ 7-0 victory on Monday in Westhampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Turners Falls’ Mia Marigliano connects for a base hit against Hampshire during the Raiders’ 7-0 victory on Monday in Westhampton.

Turners Falls’ Mia Marigliano connects for a base hit against Hampshire during the Raiders’ 7-0 victory on Monday in Westhampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Turners Falls’ Madi Liimatainen (5) fields a bunt and throws out a Hampshire baserunner during the Raiders’ 7-0 victory on Monday in Westhampton. Third baseman Madisyn Dietz backs up Liimatainen on the play.

Turners Falls’ Madi Liimatainen (5) fields a bunt and throws out a Hampshire baserunner during the Raiders’ 7-0 victory on Monday in Westhampton. Third baseman Madisyn Dietz backs up Liimatainen on the play. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Turners Falls third baseman Madisyn Dietz fields a bunt attempt during action against Hampshire Regional on Monday in Westhampton.

Turners Falls third baseman Madisyn Dietz fields a bunt attempt during action against Hampshire Regional on Monday in Westhampton. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By CONNOR PIGNATELLO

Staff Writer

Published: 05-13-2024 7:52 PM

Modified: 05-13-2024 8:55 PM


WESTHAMPTON — Hampshire Regional first baseman Teagan Charles cracked a bases-clearing double with two outs in the sixth inning to break open a 3-0 game, and the host Raiders cruised to a 7-0 independent win over Turners Falls on Monday afternoon.

Last season, both teams won Western Mass. titles (Hampshire in Class B, Turners Falls in Class D) and both advanced to their respective state title games (Hampshire in Division 4 and Turners Falls in Division 5). Hampshire (10-5) has three regular season games remaining and Turners Falls (12-4) has two left before next week’s Western Mass. playoffs.

“I think it’s a good way for us to prepare (for playoffs),” Charles said. “Obviously they have a great pitcher, it was a challenge for our hitting but we were really trying to push through it.”

Both pitchers were dealing early on. Turners Falls’ pitcher Madi Liimatainen allowed just a single baserunner over her each of her first three innings of work, before Hampshire got a run off her in the bottom of the fourth. CC Thayer walked and then scored on an RBI single from Chelsea Vanasse.

Hampshire added a pair in the bottom of the fifth on three consecutive one-out hits from Hailey Wodecki, Ashley Cortis and Charles. In the sixth, Liimatainen nearly escaped the inning by stranding a runner on second, but with two outs, she walked Wodecki and hit Cortis with a pitch to bring up Charles with the bases loaded. The double put things out of reach.

“After Ashley got hit, I don’t know what came over me but I kind of got a little fired up,” Charles said. “I saw the pitch and kind of took it. And that was that.”

Just a couple pitches after Charles’ double, Thayer drove her in to make it 7-0.

Turners Falls had its chances, but never capitalized. The Thunder put runners on second and third with two outs in the fourth, but Raiders starter Ryanne Dubay struck out Ella Koloziej to escape the first real jam of the game. 

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Hampshire lifted Dubay after the fourth to save her for its league matchup with Pittsfield (13-3) on Tuesday. Rachael Hickox replaced her and almost immediately got herself in a jam of her own, loading the bases with just one out and the heart of the Thunder lineup coming up.

She quickly ended the frame with a strikeout and a weak ground ball.

“That determined the game I think,” Turners Falls coach Gary Mullins said. “That spot right there was a real turning point in the game.”

After escaping that jam, Hickox reeled off five consecutive strikeouts and a groundout to finish off the game. Turners Falls hitters struggled to time her changeup.

Against Dubay and Hickox, Turners Falls managed just three hits against 14 strikeouts.

“We are infected with a slump that’s affecting everybody, even our good hitters,” Mullins said. “We’ve got to start hitting the ball to compete with the better teams.”

Turners Falls finishes up its regular season schedule against South Hadley on Wednesday and Wachusett on Thursday. Both are at home.

Hampshire hosts Pittsfield on Tuesday and then travels for games at Westfield on Thursday and at Pope Francis on Friday. Head coach Brian McGan was encouraged by his team’s performance Monday afternoon as the Raiders head into the season’s final stretch.

“We played a good overall game finally, instead of kind of breaking it off – sometimes we play good defense, sometimes we hit,” McGan said. “So hopefully as we go into these last few games and into the playoffs we kind of gel to gether.”