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What else is new? Dominant Turners Falls Thunder crushes Ware in opener

  • Turners Falls’ Sienna Dillensneider (8) singles in the bottom of the second inning against Ware Sunday evening at the Bourdeau Fields Complex in Turners Falls. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls’ Sienna Dillensneider (8) slides safely ahead of the tag from Ware third baseman Mariah Saez in the bottom of the second inning Sunday evening in Turners Falls. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls first baseman Lexi Lacey (24) makes the stretch for an out in the top of the fourth inning Sunday evening in Turners Falls. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls’ Sienna Dillensneider (8) scores on a past ball in the bottom of the second inning against Ware Sunday evening in Turners Falls. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls short stop Taylor Murphy (2) throws out a Ware baserunner at first base in the top of the fourth inning Sunday evening in Turners Falls. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls’ Hailey Bogusz (20) slides into home plate ahead of the tag from Ware catcher Emily Ledoux (6) in the bottom of the third inning Sunday evening at the Bourdeau Fields Complex in Turners Falls. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls pitcher Peyton Emery (6) throws against Ware in the top of the third inning on Sunday evening in Turners Falls, June 10, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little



Recorder Staff
Sunday, June 10, 2018

TURNERS FALLS — There was some worry in the back of Turners Falls High School softball coach Gary Mullins’ mind as to how well his team would fare when it opened the WMass Division III Tournament Sunday night.

It had been nearly two full weeks since the Thunder had actually played a real, live game, and even a Hall of Fame coach can’t replicate what it feels like to compete in a live game during practice. In fact, perhaps the biggest thing that happened in practice over the past two weeks was that Mullins and the Thunder lost their starting shortstop for the season due to an injury.

So when top-seeded Turners Falls took the field at the Bourdeau Fields Complex Sunday night to face eighth-seeded Ware High School, there was some nervousness in the mind of the coach of the four-time defending WMass champions.

It didn’t take long for the Turners offense to put Mullins’ mind at ease as the Thunder had 14 hits in four innings and scored 16 runs to cruise into the semifinals with a 16-0 victory over Ware in a mercy-rule-shortened, five-inning game.

“It wasn’t keeping me up at night but, yeah, there was some worry because of the layoff and because we’ve had some issues in our first home game in recent years,” Mullins said.

Each of the past two years have seen Turners Falls open without run-ruling an opposing team. Last year, Turners Falls opened with a 9-1 win over McCann Technical High School in the quarterfinals, and in 2016 the team narrowly beat Pioneer Valley Regional School, 2-1.

There was never any doubt against the Indians, as Turners Falls plated four runs in the first and then added seven in the second as the Thunder sent 13 hitters to the plate. The first six hitters of the game reached base for Turners Falls. Olivia Whittier hit an RBI single to right in the opening frame to make it 1-0, and Jade Tyler lined a single past third base to plate two runs for a 3-0 lead. Hailey Bogusz doubled in the frame, and Peyton Emery added an RBI single.

In the second, Eliza Johnson and Taylor Murphy wrapped walks around a Lexi Lacey single to load the bases, and Whittier hit her second RBI single of the game to drive in a run. Bogusz drove in a run on a fielders choice, then another scored on Sienna Dillensneider’s RBI single. Five other runs that inning scored on passed balls and errors. Turners went on to score twice in the third inning when Bogusz and Dillensneider (double) each had RBI hits, and the Thunder added three more runs in the fourth using mostly substitutes. Lindsay Whiteman had an RBI single in the inning. Kenzie Martel rescued another on a fielder’s choice.

Bogusz, Whittier and Dillensneider led the offense with two hits and two RBIs apiece, and Bogusz said she felt like she was going to have a good night at the plate.

“I just got in a zone,” she began. “Even when we were hitting in practice, I just got in my zone and started hitting away.”

Mullins was pleased to have eight of his nine starters record at least one hit.

“Whenever you have a long layoff like that, there are obviously concerns but I thought we looked comfortable,” he said. “We didn’t crush the ball, but we hit the ball pretty hard most of the night.”

The support was plenty for starting pitcher Emery, who struck out four and allowed just one hit and no walks in four innings. Chelsea Orszulak singled in the second for the lone hit of the game off the senior. Tyler came on in the fifth and struck out two, allowing one hit and one walk.

Turners was also playing its first game without starting shortstop Cassidhe Wozniak, who was injured diving for a ball during a scrimmage against Greenfield High School last week. Wozniak is not only a solid defensive player, she is also the team’s leadoff hitter, which makes hers a big loss.

“She hit five home runs for us, she’s a great leader for us, and she’s a tough kid,” Mullins said.

Turners moves on to the semifinals, which will be played Wednesday at Sortino Field on the campus of UMass. The game will be at 3 or 5 p.m., with the time being determined later today. Turners will face the winner of today’s game between fourth-seeded Mt. Greylock Regional High School and fifth-seeded Smith Academy.