Thunder power to top of league

  • Turners Falls Jade Tyler hits an RBI single against Greenfield in the top of the first inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls girls celebrate a home run by Julianna Rode in the top of the fifth inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls shortstop Cassidhe Wozniak throws to first for an out against Greenfield in the bottom of the first inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls baserunner Eliza Johnson (4), right, slides safely into second base ahead of the tag from Greenfield’s Hannah Marchefka in the top of the fifth inning at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Greenfield shortstop Sam Smith, left, dives to tag second base for a force out against Turners Falls baserunner Taylor Murphy in the top of the fourth inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls pitcher Jade Tyler throws against Greenfield in the bottom of the sixth inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Greenfield pitcher Olivia Joy throws against Turners Falls in the top of the fifth inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls’ Eliza Johnson hits a double against Greenfield in the top of the sixth inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Greenfield’s Sam Smith hits a grounder against Turners Falls in the bottom of the fourth inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Greenfield pitcher Olivia Joy throws against Turners Falls in the top of the second inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Greenfield’s Raegan Hickey hits a double against Turners Falls in the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls shortstop Cassidhe Wozniak throws to first for an out against Greenfield in the bottom of the sixth inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls pitcher Jade Tyler throws against Greenfield in the bottom of the sixth inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Greenfield pitcher Olivia Joy throws against Turners Falls in the top of the fourth inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls’ Taylor Murphy fields a grounder at second base for an out against Greenfield in the bottom of the second inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Greenfield’s Gianna Conte (28) hits a grounder against Turners Falls in the bottom of the third inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Turners Falls baserunner Cassidhe Wozniak scores ahead of the tag from Greenfield catcher Kelsey Richardson in the top of the seventh inning Thursday at Vets Field in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 5/9/2019 9:22:02 PM
Modified: 5/9/2019 9:21:50 PM

GREENFIELD — If Thursday’s game is any indication, there’s a substantial margin separating the top two teams in the Franklin County League.

Behind a 15-hit attack that peppered balls throughout the diamond early and often, Turners Falls made a significant statement in enemy territory. The Powertown blasted its way to a 14-1 drubbing of rival Greenfield before a solid crowd on a nice spring afternoon at Vets Field.

Turners improved to 11-0 overall, moving into sole possession of first place in the FCL at 7-0. Greenfield dropped to 8-2, falling a full game back in second place at 6-1 in the league.

“We hit the ball hard,” Turners head coach Gary Mullins began. “Everyone put the ball in play. To be a good team, you have to have a deep lineup and we’ve got some kids in the bottom of our order who can really do the job. We made (Greenfield) get us out.”

With first place on the line, the Thunder wasted little time exerting their dominance on the road. Taylor Murphy doubled and scored on an RBI single by Jade Tyler in the top of the first inning, and courtesy runner Mercedes Morales made it a quick 2-0 advantage when she scored on a Hailey Bogusz fielder’s choice. Turners stranded a pair in the first inning, but set the tone with three hits — all sharply-struck — against Greenfield pitcher Olivia Joy.

“The first inning helped our kids,” Mullins said. “When you see your teammates hit like that, it gets everyone else excited.”

Greenfield coach Rian Lovett said her team’s almost-instant deficit was troubling, to say the least.

“That’s totally deflating, that top of the first inning,” Lovett offered. “We haven’t even hit and we’re in a hole like that.”

The early offense was just a taste of what was to come. The Thunder doubled the advantage in the third, the big blow coming on an RBI double by Juliana Rode. The sophomore third baseman was just getting started, however. In the fifth inning, she drilled a three-run home run over the fence in right-center field, plating Aly Murphy (walk) and Bogusz (error) to stake the visitors to a commanding 7-0 lead.

While the Turners offense was more than holding up its end of the bargain, Tyler was matching them in the pitching circle. The sophomore right-hander retired the first eight batters of the game, quickly getting her team back into the dugout for more whacks at the dish.

“She threw fairly well for the most part,” Mullins said of Tyler. “Her cutter was working, she had a pretty good change-up. And she threw strikes. We made a few mistakes behind her but they didn’t come back to haunt us.”

The Thunder scored three more in the sixth inning, including a two-run double from Eliza Johnson, and four more in the seventh to take a commanding 14-0 lead. Bogusz drove in two runs with a base hit in the seventh, and Johnson closed out what was a breakout three-hit day with another RBI single. All told, Turners’ 6-7-8 hitters (Bogusz, Rode, Johnson) finished the game 8-for-15 with a whopping 11 RBIs.

Greenfield pushed its lone run across in the bottom of the seventh. After being held hitless through 6⅔ innings, the hosts got a single from freshman catcher Kelsey Richardson and an RBI double from Raegan Hickey to account for the 14-1 final. Tyler finished with 11 strikeouts and no walks, allowing just those two hits in seven innings of work.

“They exposed our weaknesses,” admitted Lovett. “We haven’t been pushed like that this season. They took advantage of anything we did wrong, which was quite a bit.”

Olivia Whittier joined Rode and Johnson in the three-hit club, and she scored three runs out of the clean-up spot. Aly Murphy worked four walks and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in an efficient day at the plate.

Joy turned in a very uncharacteristic performance for Greenfield, walking seven batters in addition to the 15 hits allowed while striking out five in seven innings. The team’s defense committed four errors behind her.

“That’s not the team that I know,” said Lovett of her squad’s performance. “But we can’t think about this game going forward. There are things to take and fix but not a lot to dwell on.”

There was a scary moment in the bottom of the fourth involving Greenfield senior shortstop Samantha Smith. After reaching on an error with two outs, Smith eventually took off for second base. Caught between sliding and going in standing up, Smith fell awkwardly right around the bag and left the game with an injury and her team trailing 4-0. She did not return.

Thursday’s lopsided margin brought back memories of the 2017 WMass Division 3 semifinal between the two teams at UMass. In what was a highly-anticipated showdown with a spot in the sectional final on the line, Turners snatched control with two runs in the first and cruised to a dominant 8-0 victory.

It was certainly surprising to see the double-digit final margin, however. The teams split regular-season meetings each of the past two seasons, including a pair of one-run games last year. Greenfield won its home affair, 1-0, before Turners exacted revenge with a 2-1 victory at the Bourdeau Fields Complex. With the bulk of both rosters returning, Thursday’s first of two meetings this season was largely expected to resemble those two tight tilts from 2018.

“Greenfield has a ton of talent,” Mullins said. “Today we were the better team but you know how this game works, we could just as easily lose when we see them at our place the next time out.”

The teams meet again May 20 in Turners Falls, with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.

Turners Falls 14, Greenfield 1

Turners .................... 202 033 4 — 14  15  2

Greenfield ..............  000 000 1 — 1  2  4

Hits: (TF) Wozniak, Reynolds, T. Murphy, Tyler, Whittier 3, Bogusz 2, Rode 3, Johnson 3. (G) Richardson, Hickey.

2B: (TF) Wozniak, T. Murphy, Whittier, Rode, Johnson. (G) Hickey.

HR: (TF) Rode.

RBI: (TF) Tyler, A. Murphy, Bogusz 4, Rode 4, Johnson 3. (G) Hickey.

WP: Tyler (7ip, 11k, 0bb).

LP: Joy (7ip, 5k, 7bb).


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