Turners Falls’ outfielders shine bright on the biggest stage

  • Turners Falls' Emily Young, center, celebrates with teammates after a home run-saving catch going over the fence to end the fifth inning against Amesbury in the Division 3 state final on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Turners Falls' Emily Young makes a home run-saving catch going over the fence to end the 5th inning vs Amesbury in the Division 3 State Finals Tournament in Amesbury Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Turners Falls' Holly Myers makes a backhanded catch in right field in the sixth inning against Amesbury in the Division 3 state finals in Amesbury Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Turners Falls' Emily Young makes a home run-saving catch going over the fence to end the 5th inning vs Amesbury in the Division 3 State Finals Tournament in Amesbury Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Turners Falls' Olivia Stafford makes a running catch in deep left field vs Amesbury in the Division 3 State Finals Tournament in Amesbury Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 7/1/2021 7:36:58 PM

AMESBURY — Being an outfielder on the Turners Falls softball team isn’t exactly the most thrilling job in all of sports. 

With the way Jade Tyler pitched throughout the year, the trio of Holly Myers in right, Emily Young in center and Olivia Stafford in left field didn't see too many balls come their way throughout the season.

That was until the biggest game of the season, however. 

Facing an Amesbury squad that put 169 runs on the board during its 12-game regular season, the Thunder outfield knew it was going to be tested throughout Thursday’s Div. 3 state championship game. They more than passed the test. 

Each of the three came up with a big catch, helping Turners to a 5-4 victory.

“We don’t get much work,” Young said. “I think a lot of times the adrenaline comes in, especially in a big game like this. We always meet in the middle of the outfield between innings and say what we need to say but we always say to lay out and catch the ball. At that point, the fence isn’t there, it’s just you and the ball and you have to do everything you can to catch it.”

Leading 3-1 with two outs in the bottom of the third, Amesbury put two runners on base and was looking to drive in some runs to draw even with the Thunder. 

A shot off the bat of Olivia Levasseur went over the head of Stafford in left, who turned and sprinted. The junior then plucked the ball out of the air over her shoulder for the third out of the inning, preventing at least one run from being scored. 

“Me and Emily were chasing it down,” Stafford said. “I noticed she couldn’t get there fast enough so I was pumping my legs and trying so hard to get it. I reached out last second and made the catch.”

In the fifth inning, it was Young’s turn to make a big play. 

Olivia DeLong — who hit a home run in the bottom of the first — came to the plate with two outs and nobody on and smashed another ball deep.

Young turned and made a run to the wall. She stuck her glove up and made the catch while toppling over the fence to keep Turners up, 3-1. 

“I was right above the fence as I noticed, but on the ride here they said it was a far away fence,” Young explained. “The one thing I said I wanted to do was go over the fence because ours is hard to go over. It was an exciting play and I’m glad it happened.”

With the Thunder still holding a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Myers came up with a big catch in right field to prevent Amesbury from putting a runner on with no outs. 

Levasseur smacked a ball down the right field line but Myers sprinted over and made a sliding catch on a ball that would have dropped in play to record the first out of the inning, one Turners got through without giving up a run. 

“When you see a ball in the air in a big game like this, you have to go for it,” Myers said. “As soon as I started moving toward the ball my first instinct was it was going to be foul. I didn’t think I was going to get it for the first couple seconds but in a game like this, you go for everything as hard as you can. I wasn’t trying to slide but it happened.”

The play from the three outfielders didn’t go unnoticed by the rest of the Turners Falls lineup.

“Our outfield played the best they have all season,” second baseman Taylor Murphy said. “They worked so hard for this. We hadn’t faced hits like that all year but they pulled through with diving catches, jumping the fence. They won the game for us today, they were a huge part of it.”

Nobody appreciated the play from the outfield more than Tyler. 

“Liv Stafford came through for us,” Tyler said. “She made a great catch and has been an amazing player this season. Emily’s catch was amazing, Holly making the diving catch… they were amazing and got us some big outs.”

With all three having played their respective spots in the outfield throughout the entire season, the trio said they’ve learned what each player can do and what kind of ground they can cover. 

It’s allowed them to play as a unit, and the teamwork showed under the brightest of lights. 

“We’ve all been working hard for these positions,” Young said. “We’ve learned each other’s speeds and how far we can cover in the outfield. Knowing we can all cover such a big part of the field is really reassuring in games like these.”


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