LOWELL - After starting the season 0-4, Case battled back to become the No. 10 seed in the South, carried that success into Tuesday’s Division 3 EMass softball final, and kept the beat going with a 4-3 victory over Matignon at Martin Field.
“We knew we were a good team, we never lost confidence,’’ Case coach Norm Beauchemin said.
Case (17-7) scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the 4-3 lead and put the pressure on Matignon heading into the seventh.
With Matignon leading, 3-1, and the bases loaded with no outs, Case junior Jenna Raposa hit a bases-clearing double to left field. The ball eluded the left fielder, allowing the third run to score and sending Raposa to third.
“It was a nice fastball and I just got a hold of it,’’ Raposa said. “I was thinking, ‘Yes, I’m going to hit this.’ I was ready for it. I was ready to pick it up for my team.’’
Shannon Orton, who had seven strikeouts and allowed four hits, set down the side in the top of the seventh to take care of business.
“[Orton] is tough as nails,’’ Beauchemin said. “She hits her locations very well, she moves the ball around. She has better speed than what most teams see during the course of the year.’’
Entering the game, Orton and the Case defense hadn’t allowed a run in the tournament, outscoring opponents, 34-0, in four games.
“Everyone in the lineup is hitting, it’s not just one person,’’ Raposa said. “As a team we have good defense, we’re all there. We don’t have a weak spot.’’
Tuesday was a different story, as the Warriors pushed two runs across the plate in the fourth inning for a 2-1 lead.
After Case scored in the third, the Warriors answered with two in the fourth. Pitcher Lauren Doneski doubled to center field to plate Sarah Gauthier, who had reached on an error. Doneski finished her trip around the bases courtesy of two passed balls.
Case had a big opportunity in the fifth inning, with the bases loaded and one out. Junior Ally Santerre placed a perfect hit just inside the first-base line, but none of the runners ran and Matignon got the force at home. Doneski got the next batter to ground out to end the inning.
“The team you saw today is not the team we are, but we survived,’’ said Beauchemin. “These girls never ever give up.’’
Matignon increased its lead in the top of the sixth, with Doneski helping her cause by ripping another double and again scoring on passed balls.