The sun was beating down on the Veterans Field Complex in Waltham Monday afternoon, with the Coastal scholastic girls’ softball team trying to close out its second victory of the day (after beating Southeast, 3-1, in the morning), and the start of their three-day marathon on the diamond.
Mickayla Cobb of Middleborough fired a laser from center field to second base, throwing out the West base runner to wrap up a 4-3 victory in which Coastal rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Katie Wood (Westport) and Jackie Sullivan (Sandwich) each delivered run-scoring singles.
On Tuesday, Coastal lost to undefeated Northeast 4-3 and then tied Central, 3-3. But on Wednesday morning, needing a victory to secure a spot in the gold medal game, Coastal pulled out a 5-3 victory over Metro on the strength of a two-run single up the middle by Stephanie Smith of Sandwich in the fifth inning to break a 3-3 tie en route to a 5-3 victory.
The collection of 12 players, representing nine towns south of Boston, advanced to the gold medal game despite having just two practice sessions. All of the players also suit up for summer league teams, which resulted in hectic yet rewarding schedules this past week.
Three Middleborough residents, Cobb, a junior at Coyle & Cassidy in Taunton, Morgan Fuller , a senior at Coyle & Cassidy, and Jackie Kielty , a rising senior at Middleborough High, play on the same summer league squad, the Taunton Dynamites U18.
This past spring, ironically, C&C (17-4) knocked Middleborough (14-7) out of the Division 2 South tournament with a 2-1 win in the first round
“We’re used to each other,” said Kielty. “We’re used to playing together. All through rec ball we always played together, so it’s a nice reunion to be able to play in a higher level all together.”
Fuller added: “We’ve been playing six days in a row now.”
The players are passionate about the game, so in their minds, the more time on the diamond, the better.
“We live for it. It’s not really like a chore. It’s fun,” said Kielty.
Head coach Heather Ross , an assistant softball coach at Emmanuel College, valued the talent of the trio for her squad.
“All three of them are great players,” she said. “They all bring something different to the table. Jackie’s a great pitcher, plays a great third base. Both Morgan and Mickayla are great catchers behind the plate. They all call their own game.”
Two practice sessions before starting tourney play is not new. They had the same experience with the Dynamites.
However, as first-time players in the Bay State Games, they all viewed their experience with the Coastal team as an opportunity to grow.
“I think it’s a big step to go with a team that you don’t know anyone on to be able to mesh and work together. I think we all grew in that aspect a lot,” said Kielty.
The team of newly acquainted high school athletes went into their last game for the gold with positive attitudes and high hopes.
“We played a good game against them yesterday so we’re ready to come back and fight,” said Ross, before the final.
Northeast plated single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings and then plated another pair in the sixth to cap a 5-0 run through the tourney with a 5-2 win.
“Our outfield made a couple of mistakes,” said Ross, who said she was still very proud of her team’s performance in the Bay State Games.
“We still got second place and Northeast was the only team we lost to.”
Coastal headed home with silver medals and smiles, knowing its loss was not due to lack of effort.
“They’ve done really well,” said Ross. “Everyone’s played a part. Everyone has a role. We try to play an equal amount of time. Everyone has good talent. They mesh well together and we’ve gotten runs and everyone to produce, so that’s good.”
The players are far from finished taking off their cleats. Their busy summer schedules will continue on the diamond. And the bond they developed as a quickly constructed team will not soon be forgotten.
“We connected as a team,” said Cobb.
“Everybody has talent that’s on the team,” said Fuller. “At Bay State you have to try out to make it, so it’s not like you just made the team because you made it. You have to be good to be on the team.”
Norwood Post 70 Legion team
falls to Hyde Park in Zone 6
In a bid to represent Zone 6, in the state regional qualifier, West Division leader Norwood Post 70 suffered a 14-4, eight-inning loss to East Division leader Hyde Park 78 Wednesday night at Catholic Memorial. Hyde Park (13-3) will play the Zone 4 champion in a quarterfinal Monday night. Post 70 pitchers issued 10 walks and hit three batters. Barnstable will represent Zone 10 in the state regional qualifier.