Wave, Red Hawks both win
The Hampshire League underwent multiple changes this season, as three new teams entered and the league was split into two divisions. But there was one thing you could count on: Greenfield High School would contend for a title.
The Green Wave clinched at least a share of the league crown on Friday as it dismantled Belchertown High School, 9-1, in an HL West Division game in Belchertown.
Greenfield travels to Frontier Regional School today at noon for the final game of the regular season. Greenfield currently sits one game ahead of the Red Hawks in the West, so a win by Frontier would give both teams a share of the league crown, while a Green Wave victory would clinch the league outright for Greenfield.
The season has not been all roses for Greenfield, which like many teams in the Hampshire League, got off to a rather up-and-down start to the season, going 5-5 through its first 10 games. The second half of the season has been in stark contrast as Greenfield has gone 8-1 in its past nine games to ascend to the throne atop the HL.
“Well, I think everybody was in the same boat in the beginning of the season and nobody could get out on the fields,” Greenfield coach Tom Suchanek said. “Once everybody was able to get out on the fields and practice and put some stuff together, some teams were able to start playing better. We were able to get on the field and start practicing and it made a difference. We went from making too many errors — three, four, five, six errors a game — to making one or none, and that makes a big difference. We’ve gotten really good pitching and fielding in the last eight-nine games.”
Greenfield (13-6 overall, 8-1 HL West) did not committ an error on Friday, while the Orioles were charged with five miscues, helping Greenfield to the big offensive output. While Greenfield has had plenty of solid pitching and defensive performances, the team has still had its troubles scoring runs at times, although Suchanek said he hopes the worst is behind the team.
“Hopefully we’ve gotten past that,” he said. “We’ve been up and down all season. It’s not because we don’t take enough swings. We take a lot of swings. There’s just been games where we don’t hit the ball, and games where we do. We’re lucky we’ve gotten such good pitching and defense.”
Garrett Hudson paced the Green Wave offense with three hits, including two doubles, and two RBIs. Tyler Jacques added a single, a double and a run batted in, while Drew Barisano chipped in a single and an RBI. Drew Barisano continued his strong season on the mound for Greenfield. Barisano has assumed the role of No. 2 starter on the team to replace Mike Duclos, who graduated after helping Greenfield win the WMass Division II title. Duclos and Hudson were the top two pitchers last season, and Barisano, last year’s No. 3, has been tough on opposing hitters this season to form a nice tandem with Hudson atop the Green Wave’s rotation. Barisano finished with three strikeouts and two walks in the six-hit, complete-game.
Tommy Massela suffered the loss.
Frontier 10, Athol 9 — Ben Ruddock’s two-out line-drive single to left field scored Sean Doyle with the tie-breaking run and Frontier Regional School hung on for a 10-9 win over Athol High School in a Hampshire League baseball game Friday in at O’Brien Field in Athol.
The game-winning run finished off a comeback from four runs down by the Red Hawks (12-7), who meet Greenfield at home today with a chance to share the HL West Division title on the line.
Athol relief pitcher Brad Bousquet got two quick outs in the seventh, albeit loud ones, as Evan Bourque and Niko Ames each hit screaming liners right at Athol second baseman Alex Page. Doyle kept the inning alive with his two-out single to center field. He then attempted to steal second, but on the play Bousquet stopped his windup and was charged with a balk, giving Doyle second base. Ruddock then came through with his single to score Doyle.
Frontier reliever Khalil Taylor then set down the Red Raiders in order in the seventh to earn the win in relief. Taylor entered with the game tied at 9-9 with one out in the sixth inning and runners on second and third. He got Jamie Posk to fly out to first base and then got Andrew Poor to ground to third to end the inning and keep things knotted up. That allowed Frontier to go ahead in the top of the seventh and he then got two ground balls to second and a popup to second in the seventh for the final outs of the game.
Ruddock finished with three hits including two doubles and two RBIs. Brandon Bryant collected three hits and one RBI, Doyle singled, doubled and drove in a run, and Derek Zewinski added one hit and one RBI.
Jerry Parker finished with three hits including a double and two RBIs. Brad Bousquet singled, doubled and plated a pair of runs, Andrew Poor had a single and a double, and Jake LaPointe hit an RBI double.
Athol 7, Murdock 6 — Kiki Guerin hit an RBI single up the middle in the seventh inning and Athol High School walked off with a 7-6 independent softball victory over Murdock High School in the season-finale Friday night.
Olivia Smith, who singled, doubled and walked twice to get on base four times for Athol, led off the seventh with a walk, and Jess Soucie hit a grounder to short that she beat out for a single that moved Smith to third on the play. That brought Guerin to the plate and she took the second pitch she saw and sent it back up the middle to plate the game-winner.
The game had multiple lead changes. Murdock scored three times in the top of the first inning but Athol came back with three in the bottom of the frame to tie things up. Athol took its first lead of the day with one run in the third inning, and the Red Raiders tacked on another run in the fourth courtesy of a solo home run by Lexi Hamlett. Murdock scored three times in the sixth inning to take a 6-5 lead, but Athol tied it up in the sixth with one run and then won it in the seventh.
Soucie earned the win, striking out four and walking one in seven innings. She also singled twice. Julia Salmond had two hits and one RBI, Kayla Robideau doubled and drove in a run, and Molly Cleveland and Jordan Carey each had one hit and one RBI.
Emma Page suffered the loss, striking out three and walking four.
Ware 11, Mohawk 3 — Ware High School scored seven times in the fifth inning to knock off Mohawk Trail Regional High School, 11-3, in an independent softball game Friday afternoon in Ware.
Sadie Simons earned the win, striking out three and walking five. Rebecca Hurlburt had two hits including a double for Ware, and Cierra Cutten had one hit and two RBIs.
Hope Lively and Sam Cairns each had three hits for Mohawk. Crystal Stevens doubled, Briana Benz had one hit and one RBI, and Jenna Sencabaugh drove in two runs. Lively suffered the loss, striking out six and walking five.
Hopkins 21, Mahar 16 — Mahar Regional School’s comeback fell a bit short on Friday and the Senators ended the season with a 21-16 Franklin County League loss to Hopkins Academy.
Hopkins led 17-5 after four innings but the Senators began to come back in the fifth with three runs and then tacked on six more in the sixth to get within striking distance. Mahar added two more in the seventh but came up short and ended the season 5-15 overall.
“We set some small goals this year,” Mahar coach Bill Curtis said. “We are a young team (just two seniors) and we gained some experience. I’m hoping that the experience and maturity we gained this season, will help us over a full year next spring.”
Bridgit Lashway had a strong game for Hopkins, finishing with four hits and four RBIs. Jera Barrett collected three hits and three RBIs, Lacey Waskiewicz and Caroline Moriarty finished with two hits and two RBIs, and Emily Young chipped in two hits and one RBI. Peyton Ring picked up the win, striking out seven and walking three in seven innings.
Erin Robinson had a huge day for the Senators, finishing with four hits, including a pair of doubles, and driving in seven runs. Junior-varsity call-up Hannah Britt finished with three hits and one RBI in her second game with the team, while Alex Temple added two hits and one RBI. Caitlyn Gullage and Legacy Brooks each had two hits. Kate Donelan suffered the loss.
Westfield 3, Greenfield 2 — Greenfield threw everything it had at unbeaten Westfield High School on Friday afternoon but the Green Wave boys’ tennis team came up just short in a 3-2 independent loss in Westfield.
George Felogloy earned a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Robby Maxton at third singles for a Green Wave victory. Patrick Crowningshield and Ben Westerman picked up another win for Greenfield at first doubles where they topped Tristan Biole and Robert Bernerdera, 6-1, 6-3.
Greenfield (14-2) will find out its fate in the WMass Division III Tennis Tournament Tuesday morning when the seeds are announced at 10 a.m. at Sabis International Charter School.