MIAA tourneys: 5 quarterfinal games await for Franklin County programs

Pioneer’s Hugh Cyhowski throws a pitch against Ware last week in the Western Mass. Class D final. The Panthers will host No. 12 Douglas in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Sunday.

Pioneer’s Hugh Cyhowski throws a pitch against Ware last week in the Western Mass. Class D final. The Panthers will host No. 12 Douglas in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Franklin Tech’s Lilly Ross scores a run against Lenox on Tuesday. The Eagles will travel to No. 4 Georgetown in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday.

Franklin Tech’s Lilly Ross scores a run against Lenox on Tuesday. The Eagles will travel to No. 4 Georgetown in the MIAA Division 5 quarterfinal round on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By JEFF LAJOIE

Staff Writer

Published: 06-06-2024 6:01 PM

It’s officially crunch time for area teams in the MIAA tournaments.

Baseball and softball fields have been pared down the Elite 8, and it’ll be a busy weekend for Franklin County teams with five local sides in action over the next three days.

Wins would elevate teams into the Final Four, neutral site games slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, before state finals are scheduled to be played next Friday and Saturday.

Here’s a closer look at each of the five state quarterfinals involving Recorder area teams over the next three days.

Friday

Div. 5 softball

No. 8 Tahanto at No. 1 Greenfield, 6 p.m.

The two-time defending state champs will host No. 8 Tahanto (13-6) in a rematch of last year’s Division 5 semifinal round — an 8-2 Greenfield victory that vaulted them into the state final.

Greenfield (22-1) has yet to allow a single run this postseason. That’s right, the entire postseason, dating back to the beginning of the Western Mass. tourney over two weeks ago. Across a five game span, the Wave have outscored teams 47-0, with MacKenzie Paulin tossing five shutouts in a dominant stretch.

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In last year’s title run, the Wave were never threatened as all five state tourney wins came by six runs or more. It’s been a similar story in 2024, as the team’s two tourney wins thus far are by a combined 25-0 score.

Tahanto’s run to the quarterfinals started with an 8-1 win over No. 25 Mystic Valley Reg. Charter before a nail-biter of a 4-3 extra-inning win over No. 9 Maynard in the Round of 16.

Saturday

Div. 5 softball

No. 5 Franklin Tech at No. 4 Georgetown, 11 a.m.

The Eagles take to the road on Saturday morning looking to spring an upset on paper with a trip to the far reaches of northeast Massachusetts.

No. 4 Georgetown (13-6) has nearly been beaten twice during its run to the quarterfinal round. In the Round of 32, No. 29 Gateway pushed them to the brink before the Royals held on for an 8-6 win. In the Round of 16, Georgetown needed extra innings to get past No. 20 Wareham, 3-2.

Franklin Tech (20-3), meanwhile, has handled its business in the state tournament thanks to wins over No. 28 Rockport (17-1) and No. 21 Lenox (10-5). The Eagles’ three losses this season have come to Greenfield (twice) and Turners Falls, the top two seeds in the Div. 5 tournament.

Div. 5 baseball

No. 23 Bourne at No. 15 Greenfield, 1 p.m.

The Green Wave have managed to navigate the Division 5 tournament from the comfy confines of Vets Field, thanks to a slew of upsets that have taken down top-seeded schools in their quadrant of the bracket.

Greenfield (12-10) will host the defending state champions when Bourne comes to town for a 1 p.m. first pitch at Vets.

The Wave beat No. 18 Boston International in the Round of 32 and then got to host No. 34 Westfield Tech in the Round of 16 when the Tigers upset No. 2 Hopedale in the previous round. Upsets on the other portion of their bracket took out No. 7 Tahanto and No. 10 Westport, leaving Greenfield and No. 23 Bourne as the final two teams standing with a spot in the Final Four up for grabs.

The Canalmen (6-17) won just three games in the regular season, but they are the defending state champs after taking down Hopkins Academy in last year’s Div. 5 title game. So far in the tournament, they’ve beaten No. 42 Gateway (10-0), No. 10 Westport (6-3) and No. 26 Mount Greylock (7-4).

Div. 5 softball

No. 7 Narragansett at No. 2 Turners Falls, 2 p.m.

It was a slog of a Round of 16 win over No. 18 Norfolk Aggie for the Thunder on Wednesday, as Turners survived a double-digit walk, multi-error performance in a 21-14 win.

The good news is the page can be quickly turned when the seventh-seeded Warriors come to Gary Mullins Field on Saturday afternoon.

No. 2 Turners (17-5) has won five games in a row entering the weekend, and will look to reach the Final Four for the third consecutive season with a win.

Standing in its way is a Narragansett (11-7) team that has beaten two other western Mass. schools in the state tournament to reach the quarters. The Warriors beat No. 26 Westfield Tech (8-0) before getting past No. 10 Drury (10-5) in the Round of 16. This is the deepest run for ’Gansett since the statewide format changed in 2022 — the program lost in the Round of 32 last year while reaching the Round of 16 in 2022.

Sunday

Div. 5 baseball

No. 12 Douglas at No. 4 Pioneer, 4 p.m.

Closing out the weekend’s slate of games, Pioneer (18-5) seeks its third straight Final Four appearance with a 4 p.m. first pitch in Northfield against No. 12 Douglas (10-10).

The Tigers are in the quarterfinals for the second time in three years, and seek their first semifinal appearance under the new statewide tournament format. Along the way, they’ve taken down No. 21 Millis (6-1) and No. 28 Mount Everett (4-3), getting to stay at home thanks to an upset that took out No. 5 Carver in their quarter of the bracket.

The Panthers have locked down their opponents in the state tourney thus far, holding off No. 29 Hull (4-1) and No. 13 Bromfield (11-0). The winner of Sunday’s game will play either No. 1 Georgetown or No. 9 Hopkins Academy in the state semifinals. Those teams meet on Friday in Georgetown.