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Indians march to final, 10-1

  • Turners Falls pitcher Mackenzie Phillips winds up during the WMass Division III Softball Tournament semifinals against Monson at UMass-Amherst Wednesday. The Indians rolled into Saturday's finals with a 10-1 rout.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Turners Falls pitcher Mackenzie Phillips winds up during the WMass Division III Softball Tournament semifinals against Monson at UMass-Amherst Wednesday. The Indians rolled into Saturday's finals with a 10-1 rout.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turners Falls hitter Mackenzie Phillips is a picture of concentration as she takes a swing Wednesday at UMass Amherst.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Turners Falls hitter Mackenzie Phillips is a picture of concentration as she takes a swing Wednesday at UMass Amherst.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turners Falls baserunner Hailey Whipple slides safely into third base during the WMass semifinals at UMAss-Amherst Wednesday afternoon.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Turners Falls baserunner Hailey Whipple slides safely into third base during the WMass semifinals at UMAss-Amherst Wednesday afternoon.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turners Falls Amber Caouette (6) and Indians teammate Barielle Arzuaga will also be in action today in Worcester.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Turners Falls Amber Caouette (6) and Indians teammate Barielle Arzuaga will also be in action today in Worcester.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Jenna Putala reaches for a high five from teammate Nicole Thibeault after defeating the Monson Mustangs in the Western Mass Softball semifinals at UMass Amherst on Wednesday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Jenna Putala reaches for a high five from teammate Nicole Thibeault after defeating the Monson Mustangs in the Western Mass Softball semifinals at UMass Amherst on Wednesday.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turners Falls first baseman Jenna Putala is a standout in the field and the batter's box, where she'll be found today in state Division III semifinal softball action against Assabet today in Worcester.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Turners Falls first baseman Jenna Putala is a standout in the field and the batter's box, where she'll be found today in state Division III semifinal softball action against Assabet today in Worcester.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turners Falls Nicole Thibeault, shown diving back into third last week during a WMass softball semifinal win over Monson at UMass Amherst, and her Indians will be in action today at Rockwood Field in Worcester, where they'll play Assabet in the state Division III semis.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Turners Falls Nicole Thibeault, shown diving back into third last week during a WMass softball semifinal win over Monson at UMass Amherst, and her Indians will be in action today at Rockwood Field in Worcester, where they'll play Assabet in the state Division III semis.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turners Falls pitcher Mackenzie Phillips winds up during the WMass Division III Softball Tournament semifinals against Monson at UMass-Amherst Wednesday. The Indians rolled into Saturday's finals with a 10-1 rout.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Turners Falls hitter Mackenzie Phillips is a picture of concentration as she takes a swing Wednesday at UMass Amherst.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Turners Falls baserunner Hailey Whipple slides safely into third base during the WMass semifinals at UMAss-Amherst Wednesday afternoon.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Turners Falls Amber Caouette (6) and Indians teammate Barielle Arzuaga will also be in action today in Worcester.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Jenna Putala reaches for a high five from teammate Nicole Thibeault after defeating the Monson Mustangs in the Western Mass Softball semifinals at UMass Amherst on Wednesday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Turners Falls first baseman Jenna Putala is a standout in the field and the batter's box, where she'll be found today in state Division III semifinal softball action against Assabet today in Worcester.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Turners Falls Nicole Thibeault, shown diving back into third last week during a WMass softball semifinal win over Monson at UMass Amherst, and her Indians will be in action today at Rockwood Field in Worcester, where they'll play Assabet in the state Division III semis.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

AMHERST — Turners Falls High School has an offense that’s good enough to beat most teams in western Massachusetts without any help. On Wednesday, the Indians got all kinds of it from a shaky Monson High School defense even though it wasn’t needed.

The Indians banged out a dozen hits and took advantage of six Mustangs errors to cruise to a 10-1 semifinal victory in the WMass Division IV Softball Tournament on a pleasant, overcast afternoon at UMass’ Sortino Field.

Turners (21-2) advanced to Saturday’s 4 p.m. championship tilt at Sortino Field against fifth-seeded Pathfinder Vocational High School (21-2), which stunned previously unbeaten and top-seeded Mt. Everett Regional School, 3-0, and wonder pitcher Alicia Bazonski in the second half of the doubleheader.

Monson’s nightmarish day in the field included errors committed when facing the first batter in three innings, including the first batter of the contest. Indians catcher Morgan Ozdarski hit a soft pop fly to short right field that second baseman Madi DiSanti dropped. After courtesy runner Maddy Johnson was erased on Jenna Putala’s fielder’s choice, Amber Caouette singled to right and Putala raced to third. After Caouette stole second, Gabby Arzuaga smoked a hard grounder past diving shortstop Graycen Legere to plate Putala and Caouette and put the Indians up 2-0.

The Mustangs came right back and scored a run, as losing hurler Carly Zielinski drilled a one-out triple to power alley in right-center field and Zoe Chevrette ripped a line shot to left-center for a double to score courtesy runner Jordan Bailey.

Chevrette’s two-bagger was the last significant contact a Monson batter made against Turners pitcher Mackenzie Phillips. From that point, the sophomore righthander retired 18 of the final 20 batters she faced, including 15 in a row, and didn’t allow a runner to get into scoring position. The only two Mustang batters who reached base did so via bunts — the first on Caouette’s low throw to first, the other on a bunt single.

Phillips struck out 10, walked no one and needed just 76 pitches (61 strikes) to complete her three-hitter.

“They hit the ball early, but once (Mac) settled down, she started pitching very well,” said Mullins. “The changeup was working well, and I started calling a few drops, and she was throwing some beauties.”

Meanwhile, the Indians stuck to the fundamentals — they swung the bats with a purpose, ran the bases well and took what the Monson defense gave them. Unfortunately, the Mustangs were a little too charitable in that regard.

In the third, Caouette (3-for-4, three runs) and Arzuaga (2-for-3, run) both hit sharp singles through the left side before Phillips beat out an infield single to load the bases with two outs. Zielinski then uncorked a wild pitch and Caouette raced home for the third run to make it 3-1.

Turners opened it up in the fourth with four runs to extend the lead to 7-1. Jordyn Fiske singled, Hailey Whipple (2-for-3, two runs) bunted for a single and Ozdarski moved both runners over with her nubber in front of the plate that went for a groundout.

Monson head coach Heather Korzec opted to intentionally walk Putala, but the move backfired — not once, but twice. Caouette came up and roped a single that brought Fiske and Whipple home, then after a double-steal, Putala and Caouette both scored on Emma Johnson’s single to right.

“The girls worked hard the last few days and were rewarded today for it,” said Mullins. “We got some timely hits and did a decent job.”

As for the Mustangs’ struggles, “They gave us extra outs and that definitely helped us score multiple runs,” he admitted.

On the double-steal, Putala inadvertently spiked shortstop Legere, who covered third on the play. Legere was down for a few minutes, then had to be carried off the field. She was replaced by Allison.

Putala made it 8-1 in the fifth with a sacrifice fly, then Monson’s defense suffered a complete meltdown in the sixth, committing four errors that led to the final two Turners runs.

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