LOWELL — In the midst of a wild fourth inning, Bridgewater-Raynham junior Jenny Heller scored the winning run on a wild pitch to take a one-run lead and the Trojans went on to defeat Revere, 3-1, in the Division 1 Eastern Mass. title game Wednesday night.
Following the final out, Heller was found diving in front of pictures of her teammates, throwing her hands up in excitement. It was only fitting, given how her winning run was scored.
Trailing, 1-0, in the fourth, junior Emily Kurkul crushed a ball to dead center, falling just short of a home run. She cruised into second with a double before being lifted for courtesy runner Taylor Poulin. Heller followed with a walk, and junior Kelsey Leuenberger laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. After a Stephanie Cavallaro walk to load the bases, junior Sophia Perez hit a deep fly ball to center field to tie the game.
With two outs, Holly Greet, one of two Trojan seniors, worked a walk, the third of the inning issued by Sabrina Palermo.
Sophomore Allyson Murphy pinch hit for Nicole McSweeney, and was down to two strikes when Palermo threw a wild pitch high into the backstop.
Patriot catcher Julianna Cecere raced back and retrieved the ball, turned and started moving toward home plate. Heller stopped halfway down the line as Cecere tossed the ball toward home, but the throw sailed over a leaping Palermo’s glove into the middle of the diamond. Heller turned and crossed the plate, throwing her hands in the air to celebrate as Cavallaro slid in safely behind her to give the Trojans the 3-1 lead.
“I knew I really wanted to get home to score, but I was trying to be patient with it and not rush it because she [Palermo] was fast and it bounced back from the fence,” Heller said. “I knew I had to do something, but once she overthrew the pitcher I knew I was good. I hesitated, but I made sure I got home.”
With two outs in the top of the opening frame, Cecere reached on a base hit to left. Junior Kristina Stella doubled into the left-centerfield gap, scoring Poulin. who was running for Cecere.
The run was the first 6-foot-1-inch Sarah Dawson and the Trojans had allowed all postseason.
Dawson retired 11 consecutive batters following Stella’s double, and didn’t allow a hit to the next 14 batters. She finished with 3 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts and one hit batter in seven innings.
The Patriots were the 10th seed in the North field at 15-5. But after a preliminary round win over Lincoln-Sudbury, the Patriots defeated No. 7 Chelmsford, No. 2 Concord-Carlisle, No. 11 Central Catholic, and No. 4 Newton North in the sectional title game, with the last three wins coming by one run.
Bridgewater-Raynham plays Central Mass. champion Holy Name Central Catholic Saturday at 7 p.m. at Worcester State University for the state title.