Thursday, April 24, 2014
WINTHROP -- How many times can Hall-Dale keep doing it?
After winning eight softball games all of last spring, the Bulldogs are 7-4 this year. The season has featured close games and thrilling comebacks, and perhaps the most dramatic one was Wednesday afternoon, when Hall-Dale scored three times in the top of the seventh inning and barely survived Winthrop's rally for a 6-5 victory.
"I can't say enough for the girls that aren't starting," Hall-Dale coach Christen Lachapelle said. "They're going in late in the game. They're prepared and they're ready to do their part."
Hall-Dale's rally started with one out and Winthrop (5-5) holding a 5-3 lead in the top of the seventh. Emily Maynard bunted and reached on an error and Morgan Rush singled to center. Olivia Maynard then singled Emily Maynard home to make it 5-4.
Morgan Levasseur ran for Olivia Maynard and Becca Ackerson grounded into a forceout at third. Levasseur reacted quickly on a two-out passed ball and made it to third with Ackerson advancing to second. That became a huge play when Natasha Brown's grounder died in front of the plate for a single and the Ramblers threw the ball away as Levasseur and Ackerson scored.
Trailing 6-5, Winthrop charged back with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Cat Ouellette (4 for 4, three triples) singled to right and Abby Helm bounced a single up the middle as Ouellette raced to third. On the first pitch to Alyssa Arsenault, Helm stole second and Ouellette came halfway down the line from third. Ouellette tried to steal home on the throw back to the pitcher, but Olivia Maynard recovered quickly and threw to Emily Maynard for the tag.
"I was actually not expecting her to steal," Emily Maynard said. "But then, Liv and I have a pretty good telepathy -- we're sisters. We worked it out, I guess."
"I just saw her rounding and everyone was like, 'Home! Home! Home' " Olivia Maynard said. "I threw it to Emily, and Emily did the job and got it done."
With Helm at third, Arsenault fouled off four straight pitches before grounding out to end the game. Lachapelle, who is still young enough to have some ups, responded by leaping into the air twice and pumping her fists as she bounced out of the dugout.
"Coaching gives me an opportunity to be kind of a kid all over again," Lachapelle said. "I was happy for them to hold on to something like that. That kind of a win is big. We didn't play great, but we kind of toughed it out, so I was excited for them."
Winthrop had leads of 1-0 and 3-1 in the first three innings. Ouellette tripled over the right fielder's head in the first, tripled down the left field line in the third and tripled past the center fielder to the wall in the fifth. She scored all three times and Randi Dennett added a triple of her own in the third.
Hall-Dale tied the game at three with two runs during a bizarre top of the fifth. The Bulldogs had two hits and neither of them left the infield. They hit two balls to the outfield, but one dropped in and became a forceout when the runner from second held up thinking the ball would be caught and the other ball to the outfield was a line drive that turned into a double play when the runner from second thought the ball would drop in.
That was one of six different times Winthrop's Krissy Doughty gutted her way out of a jam with at least one runner in scoring position. Doughty struck out eight and Danielle Pease went 3 for 3 as part of Winthrop's 10 hits.
"My feeling is that we gave the game away," Winthrop coach Bob Ouellette said. "I think it was ours to win. My girls don't know how good they are. They need to find some confidence. We can hit. We're 5-5 and the five losses that we have are by a total of eight runs. We're there with every team that we play against."
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243