×

Thunder busts it open late, 12-3

  • Turners Falls pitcher Jade Tyler winds up against Mt. Greylock in the top of the second inning Wednesday at Sortino Field in Amherst. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls hitter Taylor Murphy bats against Mt. Greylock in the bottom of the third inning Wednesday at Sortino Field in Amherst. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls baserunner Cassidhe Wozniak scores against Mt. Greylock in the bottom of the third inning Wednesday at Sortino Field in Amherst. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls pitcher Jade Tyler cranks it up against Mt. Greylock in the top of the fourth inning Wednesday at Sortino Field in Amherst. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls shortstop Taylor Murphy throws to first for an out against Mt. Greylock in the top of the fourth inning Wednesday at Sortino Field in Amherst. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls pitcher Jade Tyler throws against Mt. Greylock in the top of the fourth inning Wednesday at Sortino Field in Amherst. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls’ Taylor Murphy (2) bats against Mt. Greylock in the bottom of the fourth inning Wednesday at Sortino Field in Amherst. Recorder Staff/Dan Little



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

AMHERST — Offense to the rescue.

The Turners Falls High School softball team has had many lights-out performances at Sortino Field over the years. Wednesday’s Western Massachusetts Division III semifinal certainly wasn’t one of them. But like it has many times in program history, the Thunder left the campus of UMass victorious.

Behind a 13-hit attack, including three hits each from Aly Murphy and Olivia Whittier, top-seeded Turners punched another ticket to the sectional final thanks to a 12-3 victory over No. 4 Mount Greylock Regional High School.

Turners (19-3) will meet No. 2 Mount Everett Regional High School (15-6) in Saturday’s Division III championship. That contest is set for a 4 p.m. start back at UMass.

“We hit through our mistakes,” stated Turners head coach Gary Mullins of the victory. “I wasn’t really happy with the way we played today. We hit the ball well, but we’ve got some things to fix. That’s for sure.”

It’s largely due to the history and stature of the Turners program that a nine-run victory is a tad disappointing. But two errors in the field, some wildness in the pitching circle, and an overall lack of crispness left Mullins shaking his head on several occasions as the Thunder were in a tightly-locked battle for three innings.

“There’s no reasons for the mistakes we made today,” said the veteran coach.

It all started well enough.

Turners’ offense got on the board in the bottom of the second inning, using the long-ball to jump on Greylock starting pitcher Lily Lesieur. First it was freshman Jade Tyler, who crushed a two-run home run over the left-field fence that landed on the last row of the outfield bleachers to stake the Thunder to a 2-0 advantage.

Senior Peyton Emery followed with another blast. Her home run banged off the left-field scoreboard, and the back-to-back jacks made it a 3-0 advantage.

“I knew both were gone as soon as they hit them,” recalled sophomore Aly Murphy of the mamouth blasts.

A 3-0 lead in the postseason? Game over, right?

The Mounties didn’t quite cooperate.

Kayla Cerveira reached on an error with one out in the top of the third for the Berkshire County squad, and Lesieur bunted her way on. Jordyn Codding got Greylock on the board from there, driving a single into the outfield that cut the deficit to 3-1.

Taylor Cornell followed with another RBI single, the team’s third hit in a row, to make it a 3-2 game. The Mounties pulled even on an error, when Tyler’s throw to try and nail Codding at third base got past Abby Loynd, sending Codding home to make it a 3-3 ballgame.

“That’s what I’m disappointed in,” began Mullins. “I don’t think (Greylock was hitting) the ball well enough for them to come back like that. They put a couple balls on the ground and we couldn’t make plays and that bothers me.”

Luckily for Mullins & Co., the Turners offense had plenty left in the tank to pick up the team. Aly Murphy singled and courtesy runner Cassidhe Wozniak scored what wound up as the game-winning run in the bottom of the third on a wild pitch.

The Thunder pounded out 11 hits in the final four innings, including four in a four-run fourth inning that featured an RBI single from Whittier that scored two runs thanks to an error on the back end.

“We just had to relax,” explained Aly Murphy of retaking the lead after Greylock tied the game. “We were a little riled after all that happened (in the top of the third). We do better when we settle things down.”

Turners put the game out of reach in the sixth, when Aly Murphy, Whittier and Tyler all smacked doubles. Taryn Thayer added an RBI single, while Hailey Bogusz drew one of her three walks and added a run scored.

“I was proud of how our team hit,” Murphy explained. “We’ve been struggling a little bit with it. I’m proud that we hit as well as we did today.”

Whittier was 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, while Aly Murphy was 3-for-4 with three runs. Tyler and Thayer had two hits apiece, while Julianna Rode, Emery and Taylor Murphy all added hits.

“Offensively, we hit the ball pretty well,” Mullins lauded.

Tyler drew the start in the pitching circle, earning the win after tossing four innings. The freshman struck out four and walked two, allowing five hits and three runs. Emery closed out the final three innings, striking out three and walking a pair while giving up three hits and no runs.

Turners now meets Mt. Everett in the finals for the second time in as many years. In last year’s meeting, the Thunder breezed to a 15-1 win. The Eagles edged third-seeded McCann Technical School, 3-2, behind a walk-off error in the bottom of the seventh inning in Wednesday’s other semifinal.

“I’m expecting a good fight,” explained Aly Murphy of the title game. “I’m excited to play because of the rivalry we’ve developed with (Mt. Everett).

The Division III final is the third game in a Saturday tripleheader that begins with the Division I game at 11 a.m. and continues with the Division II championship at 1:30.