Sloppy Hawks fall to Wahconah, 10-1

For the Recorder
Monday, June 11, 2018

DALTON — The Frontier Regional School softball team gave Wahconah Regional High School extra outs early in Monday’s Western Massachusetts Division II Softball Tournament quarterfinals. Unfortunately for the Red Hawks, that’s something you can’t give to a good team.

Wahconah scored four runs in the first inning on three hits and three errors. By the time the third inning was over, Frontier had given up nine runs on seven hits and five errors and the third-seeded Warriors beat No. 6 Frontier 10-1 at Pinegrove Park.

“Those first couple of innings, we were hurting. Some of the girls were playing in the tournament for the first time and were showing some nerves,” Frontier coach Gary Deane said. “Give it to Wahconah. Their pitcher was right on top of us and their defense did a great job.”

It has been three years since a Wahconah softball team has been to the University of Massachusetts.

“It means a lot” to be going back, Wahconah catcher Jess Warren said. “I’m definitely excited. It’s very emotional for me, because the last time we were there, it was my freshman year. Last year, with the rainouts, we didn’t get to play there.

“It’s definitely a big emotional thing, but I’m excited and I know the girls are.”

That wasn’t all Warren had to be excited about. The Wahconah senior hit two inside-the-park home runs and drove in four in the win.

The Warriors scored four runs on three hits and three errors in the first inning, which proved to be more than enough for Wahconah pitcher Abby Wells.

Wells lost her shutout bid on a sixth-inning inside-the-park home run by Kelsey Jarvis. The Wahconah left hander scattered three hits and struck out eight. At one point, after giving up a first-inning leadoff single to Natalie Denkievicz, the sophomore pitcher retired 11 consecutive hitters. The Red Hawks (12-9) never caught up.

“We were anxious and ready to play,” said Wells. “I knew that we’d be ready. Even from the start, when we first stepped on the field, I just felt the energy was good I knew we were going to have a good game today.”

With the win, the Warriors (15-6) advance to Thursday’s 3 p.m. semifinal at Sortino Field against Hoosac Valley.

Wahconah started its first inning when Wells walked on four straight pitches. She came around to score on Morgan Marauswzski’s sacrifice bunt and a throwing error by Frontier catcher Kelsey Jarvis. Then Warren hit a 2-1 pitch to deep left-center field, making it 3-0. Emma Parkington, who singled, eventually scored when Julia O’Connor reached on an error by Frontier pitcher Olivia Deane.

By the time the third inning was over, Wahconah had nine runs on seven hits, and the usually sure-handed Red Hawks had made five errors.

“We usually are able to toughen up and end that kind of streak quickly,” the Frontier coach said of those early errors. “It just sort of caught on. There were some communication errors. It is out of the ordinary for us to do it that many times.

“After those few nervous innings, we settled down.”

Deane came out with two outs in the third inning. Lauren McDonald relieved, and she gave up two runs on three hits over the final 3⅓ innings. She did, however, give up the second of Warren’s home runs.

Warren’s second home run came with two outs in the home sixth. She hit the first pitch she saw from McDaniel to deep center field. Frontier shortstop Kimmie Asseng caught the relay throw and her throw to the plate was just late, as Warren slid under the tag of Jarvis.