High Schools: Turners softball reached Class D finals with 5-0 win over Hopkins (PHOTOS)

Turners Falls’ Anne Kolodziej (11) scores the game’s first run during the top-seeded Thunder’s 5-0 victory over No. 4 Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

Turners Falls’ Anne Kolodziej (11) scores the game’s first run during the top-seeded Thunder’s 5-0 victory over No. 4 Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Turners Falls’ Ella Kolodziej makes contact during the top-seeded Thunder’s victory over No. 4 Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

Turners Falls’ Ella Kolodziej makes contact during the top-seeded Thunder’s victory over No. 4 Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Turners Falls’ Mia Marigliano (14) heads for home during the top-seeded Thunder’s victory over No. 4 Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

Turners Falls’ Mia Marigliano (14) heads for home during the top-seeded Thunder’s victory over No. 4 Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hopkins Academy third baseman Cassidi Mushenski makes an out during the Golden Hawks’ loss to top-seeded Turners Falls in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

Hopkins Academy third baseman Cassidi Mushenski makes an out during the Golden Hawks’ loss to top-seeded Turners Falls in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

The Turners Falls bench watches the action while Holly Myers (18) bats during the top-seeded Thunder’s victory over No. 4 Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

The Turners Falls bench watches the action while Holly Myers (18) bats during the top-seeded Thunder’s victory over No. 4 Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Turners Falls’ Madi Liimatainen (5) makes contact during the top-seeded Thunder’s victory over No. 4 Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

Turners Falls’ Madi Liimatainen (5) makes contact during the top-seeded Thunder’s victory over No. 4 Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hopkins Academy’s Cassie Dion delivers a pitch against top-seeded Turners Falls in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

Hopkins Academy’s Cassie Dion delivers a pitch against top-seeded Turners Falls in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hopkins Academy third baseman Cassidi Mushenski throws out a Turners Falls runner  in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

Hopkins Academy third baseman Cassidi Mushenski throws out a Turners Falls runner in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Turners Falls second baseman Addison Talbot (10) makes a catch against Hopkins Academy  in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

Turners Falls second baseman Addison Talbot (10) makes a catch against Hopkins Academy in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 05-24-2024 9:11 PM

TURNERS — The Turners Falls softball team finds itself in a familiar position. 

After squeaking out a 1-0 win over eighth-seeded Mount Everett in the quarterfinals, the top-seeded Thunder hosted No. 4 Hopkins Academy with a spot in the Western Mass. Class D championship game on the line on Friday.

The Thunder’s bats came to life, as the hosts scored five runs in the second inning and that proved to be enough. Madi Liimatainen didn’t allow a run in seven innings work, with Turners advancing to the finals with a 5-0 triumph at Gary Mullins Field. 

The Thunder advanced to play No. 2 Lee in the championship game on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Westfield State University. Turners (15-5) will be looking to defend the Class D title, winning it last year over Hopkins.

“It’s nice getting to another Western Mass. final,” Thunder coach Gary Mullins said. “We’ve been trying and working hard. The kids have been putting in extra time hitting. Before and after practices the kids have been putting extra work in and it showed up today. We made good contact.” 

With six eighth graders on the roster, Hopkins coach Lindsey Lord noted how impressed she was of the improvement of her team throughout the season. The Golden Hawks (14-6) opened the season against Turners and suffered a 12-0 defeat. 

Friday’s loss showed how far Hopkins has come this year.

“I’m very happy,” Lord said. “Our defense was much better. We could have found the ball a little more at the plate but overall, we put up a good fight. I’m happy to see how much we’ve improved from the first game of the year to now. We were run ruled that first game but now we kept it a 5-0 game against a solid team. I’m excited to see what we can do at states.”

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After a scoreless first inning — where each team stranded a runner on third — Turners struck in the second. 

Anne Kolodziej got things started by roping a triple to the right field fence before her twin, Ella Kolodziej, knocked a single to left to score Anne Kolodziej and give the Thunder the early lead. 

Marilyn Abarua was hit by a pitch and Addison Talbot reached on an error to load the bases for Mia Marigliano, who knocked an infield single to score Ella Kolodziej. Liimatainen walked to plate Abarua before Janelle Massey smashed a base hit to drive Talbot and Marigliano in, giving Turners its 5-0 lead after two. 

“We were putting the ball in the outfield, even if they were outs,” Mullins said. “That I feel good about.”

Hopkins had chances to get back in the game in the third and fourth innings. 

Lily Ellia singled in the top of the third — the Golden Hawks’ first hit of the game — before Cassidi Muchenski and Cassie Dion walked to load the bases with two outs, but Liimatainen got Alayna Bailey to fly out to end the inning with no damage done. 

Margaret Potter singled to open the fourth for Hopkins and Olivia Earle reached on a fielder’s choice to put a pair of runners on with one out, but Liimatainen struck out a pair to end the inning without a run coming across.

Liimatainen allowed one walk and no hits the rest of the way, as the junior finished the game with 14 strikeouts and just two hits allowed. Dion pitched all six innings for the Golden Hawks, striking out four. 

Massey singled in the first, Marigliano cracked a hit in the fourth while Liimatainen hit safely in the sixth for Turners. 

After managing just three hits against Mt. Everett, Mullins said he was pleased to see the bats heat up on Friday, hoping this is the type of performance that can help build confidence heading into the Western Mass. title game and state tournament. 

“The only way to get is to see yourself perform,” Mullins said. “That’s all good stuff. Hopefully we can build off of this.”

Non Playoff

Ware 17, Pioneer 12 — Avery Johnson doubled while Roslynn Moore and Kelly Baird each recorded two hits and an RBI in the Panthers’ loss on Friday in Northfield. 

Maggie Tsipenyuk doubled and added two singles, Laylah Goulston recorded four hits and an RBI, Jaelyn Boliski tallied three hits and an RBI while Allie Clary doubled, tripled and knocked in three runs for Pioneer. 

Baseball

Athol 9, Mount Greylock 8 — Two days removed from an 18-0 loss to Greenfield in the Class C quarterfinals, the Bears bounced back in fine fashion with a gritty 9-8 non-playoff win on Friday to close out their regular season 11-7 overall.

“I'm really proud of our guys for bouncing back from the Greenfield game with a big win today that gives us a chance at a home game in the opening round of the [state] tournament,” Athol coach Josh Talbot said.

Logan Cormer went 3-for-3 with two doubles, and drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh when he plated Andrew Robinson with an RBI single. Enyert Arias Cepeda doubled and drove in a run for Athol, and Noah Wein earned the win on the mound over five innings (six strikeouts).

Southwick 8, Frontier 7 — The visiting Redhawks built a 5-0 lead in the second inning but couldn’t hang on as Southwick walked off with an 8-7 victory in the regular season finale on Friday.

Frontier will head to the state tournament with a 14-6 overall record.

Tyler Cusson belted a home run as part of a 2-for-3 day with three RBIs, while Nico Fasulo added two hits and scored two runs for Frontier. The Hawks used six different pitchers, as Owen Babb started and went the first three innings (four hits, four walks, no strikeouts).