M/clear
40°
M/clear
Hi 72° | Lo 60°

Indians a win away, 5-1

  • Intimidating Turners Falls fireballer Mackenzie Phillips is airborne and building torque at the peak of her windmill Wednesday afternoon during her 5-1 state Division III Softball Tournament semifinal win over defending-champion Assabet at Worcester State University. Next up for the Indians is Greater New Bedford Voke Saturday in a 1 p.m. state final at the same site. <br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Intimidating Turners Falls fireballer Mackenzie Phillips is airborne and building torque at the peak of her windmill Wednesday afternoon during her 5-1 state Division III Softball Tournament semifinal win over defending-champion Assabet at Worcester State University. Next up for the Indians is Greater New Bedford Voke Saturday in a 1 p.m. state final at the same site.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turners Falls second baseman Jenna Putala fields a ground ball Wednesday afternoon during her Indians' 5-1 state Division III softball semifinal win over defending-champion Assabet at Worcester State University.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Turners Falls second baseman Jenna Putala fields a ground ball Wednesday afternoon during her Indians' 5-1 state Division III softball semifinal win over defending-champion Assabet at Worcester State University.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Turners Falls Jordan Fiske scoops up a hit to throw to first during the Division III semifinals against the Assabet Regional Aztecs at Worcester State on Wednesday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Turners Falls Jordan Fiske scoops up a hit to throw to first during the Division III semifinals against the Assabet Regional Aztecs at Worcester State on Wednesday.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Intimidating Turners Falls fireballer Mackenzie Phillips is airborne and building torque at the peak of her windmill Wednesday afternoon during her 5-1 state Division III Softball Tournament semifinal win over defending-champion Assabet at Worcester State University. Next up for the Indians is Greater New Bedford Voke Saturday in a 1 p.m. state final at the same site. <br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Turners Falls second baseman Jenna Putala fields a ground ball Wednesday afternoon during her Indians' 5-1 state Division III softball semifinal win over defending-champion Assabet at Worcester State University.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Turners Falls Jordan Fiske scoops up a hit to throw to first during the Division III semifinals against the Assabet Regional Aztecs at Worcester State on Wednesday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

WORCESTER — It’s not how many hits you get, but what you do with them.

Turners Falls High School was limited to just six hits against Assabet Valley Technical High School pitcher Maddy Parmeter Wednesday afternoon, but three of them accounted for four runs as the Indians went on to beat the defending state-champion Aztecs, 5-1, in the semifinals of MIAA state Division III Softball Tournament at Rockwood Field on the campus of Worcester State University.

The Indians (23-2) will now go after the program’s seventh state championship Saturday afternoon against Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical High School. First pitch is set for 1 p.m., also at Rockwood Field.

Mullins was impressed with Assabet, which finished with eight hits and drew two walks against sophomore pitcher Mackenzie Phillips, who struck out only six on the afternoon.

“They’re a nice club,” Mullins said. “They hit the ball and they battle you. The top of the order is tough, and I heard that, but they proved they were, too.”

The Indians produced all of the offense they needed in the opening inning. Jenna Putala started the rally with a one-out walk. Amber Caouette followed with a blooper to short left-center field on which shortstop Jocelyn Orangio got a late jump and the ball tipped off her glove as she lunged for it. Putala scampered to the third on the single by Caouette, who took second on the throw.

Parmeter was able to strike out the freshman shortstop Gabby Arzuaga for the second out, but pitching counterpart Phillips delivered in a big way, lining a 1-2 pitch right over Parmeter’s head and into center field, easily scoring Putala and Caouette to give Turners a quick 2-0 lead.

“Those runs were absolutely huge,” said head coach Gary Mullins. “Getting early runs is always nice in these kinds of games, and we can relax a little bit.”

The Indians tacked on a third-inning run without the benefit of a hit, and in rather unorthodox fashion.

Putala led off by reaching on an infield error and moved to second on a passed ball. Caouette reached when right fielder Erin Macora dropped her fly ball to put runners at the corners, and Caouette promptly stole second. Up came Arzuaga, who hit a ground ball to Orangio at shortstop. Orangio noticed Putala was well off third and tried to get her going back to the bag, but Putala beat the throw to load the bases with no outs.

Parmeter was able to induce consecutive infield fly rules for the first two outs, but that’s where the controversy ensued with designated player Melissa Hersey at the plate.

On a 1-1 pitch, Hersey asked for timeout that was not granted. However, Parmeter stopped her pitching motion halfway through the delivery and was ruled to have thrown an illegal pitch, which advanced all runners one base. Putala jogged home and Turners had a 3-0 lead.

The Assabet coaches came out to get clarification from home-plate umpire Ed Kolasienski, and left after a brief chat.

Parmeter eventually struck out Hersey, but Turners carried a 3-0 lead into the decisive fifth inning, when the Aztecs rally was derailed by a controversial call.

Orangio led off the top of the fifth with a laser that sailed past lunging center fielder Emma Johnson and rolled to the fence. Right fielder Jordyn Fiske alertly backed up the play and fired the ball to cutoff player Arzuaga, who turned and gunned the relay to Caouette at third. Orangio appeared to get her foot in before the tag, but Kolasienski called her out, much to the chagrin of the third-base coach, who briefly protested to no avail.

The Aztecs were clearly frustrated by the call, and that frustration grew when Baker and Parmeter followed with consecutive singles. Turners eventually got out of the inning unscathed.

In the bottom of the frame, the Powertowners put the game out of reach when Putala (1-for-3, three runs) hit a sky-high ball to left field that landed no more than five feet over the fence for a solo home run. Then Caouette (2-for-3, two runs) came up and launched Parmeter’s first offering in the same direction, clearing the fence by over 20 feet for the rare back-to-back homers on consecutive pitches.

“You watch them in practice and you see some good things,” offered Mullins. “Amber’s been swinging the bat real well in the tournament, and Jenna finally caught one and put it over the fence.”

Another aspect of the Indian offense that pleased Mullins was that every batter displayed a great deal of plate discipline.

“We didn’t chase bad pitches,” he said. “We didn’t chase it up high or balls in the dirt, and that’s a great day. We didn’t hit as well as I liked, but we made the pitcher work and make her throw strikes.”

Assabet made things interesting in the top of the seventh, when Orangio worked a one-out walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch (the ball slipped out of Phillips’ hand and rolled beyond second base), moved to third on a groundout and scored on Parmeter’s single through the left side. Jen Casavant then reached on a dropped infield fly, but Phillips closed it out when she got Josie Burlingame to ground softly to Putala at second base.

When asked if getting back to the finals ever gets old, Mullins — who will take his 12th squad to the finals on Saturday — said simply, “Of course not.”

You’ve got different kids (every year),” he added. “You could win every single year and it would still feel kind of cool.”

A win on Saturday would be as cool as it gets.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.