With baseball brethren already in the state final, the Bellingham softball team was hoping to hold up its end of the bargain Wednesday night at Jack Tripp Field in Taunton.
The Blackhawks erased a 2-0 deficit and slipped by Tewksbury, 3-2, to make for a very busy Saturday for Bellingham fans.
“Right from Day 1 we have preached pitching and defense and we have gotten some timely hitting,” said Bellingham coach Dennis Baker.
Tewksbury struck for its two runs in the top of the second. Freshman Teagan Trant doubled and junior Anna Sessa singled and moved to second on an errant throw to put runners in scoring position. Another freshman, Kayla VonKahle, then shot a single down the first base line to score both runners. But a possible third run was cut down at the plate to keep the deficit manageable.
Bellingham struggled to crack Tewksbury ace Shannon McLaughlin the first time through the order. But in the fourth, the bats came alive. Senior pitcher Megan Cook led off with a single to center followed by a single by junior Chloe Woodward. A ground ball moved both runners over and after a popup resulted in the second out, Baker turned to his bench. Freshman Julia Caddell was summoned and she delivered, lacing an infield single that scored Cook. The Blackhawks tied the game on a wild pitch.
Bellingham broke through with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore Meghan Cook led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Senior Rachel Kuhlman then singled to right field. Meghan Cook got a late break and appeared to be hung up between third and home but she was able to induce a couple of throws and slide safely into home.
“It was a close play but we are going to make them make the plays,” said Baker. “It’s a game of inches and they just battled back and never quit down, 2-0.”
Greater New Bedford 3, St. Mary’s 0 — Neely Eddleston is just a 14-year-old freshman. But even with a trip to the state championship game on the line, she performed like a seasoned veteran.
Eddleston tossed a four-hit shutout to lift the Bears past the Spartans in the Division 3 state semifinals at Martin Field in Lowell.
“I was really nervous,” said Eddleston, who struck out six and walked one. “But I feel like I did what I was supposed to do and put it all out there. I had faith in my defense and offense. It’s very exciting.”
The Bears, the No. 15 seed in the South tournament, have won 12 straight and will play Turners Falls in the state final Saturday at Worcester State. It is their first-ever appearance in the title game.
The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Rileigh Avila led off with a single and advanced to third on a passed ball and wild pitch.
Katelyn Couto followed with a walk but was thrown out attempting to steal second. Avila took off and scored on the throw.
Greater New Bedford extended the lead to 3-0 in the fourth. After Brooke Tetreault doubled and Megan Young walked, Mollie Mayer bunted down the first base line. Mayer was out at first, but two errant throws to the plate allowed Tetreault and Young to score.