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Road to a Division 1 repeat for Taunton girls’ softball starts and finishes with Liv Mendonca

Taunton catcher Kaysie Demoura and pitcher Liv Mendonca danced around the diamond at Sortino Field in Amherst after the Tigers repeated as Division 1 champions with a 5-3 victory over Peabody Friday.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

AMHERST — As senior Liv Mendonca warmed up 45 minutes before the first pitch of the MIAA Division 1 softball final, Taunton coach Carrie Consalvi asked how her screwball was feeling.

Her reply: “Good.”

When she grabbed the ball in the circle, all of her pitches were stellar.

Mendonca hurled a gem, propelling third-seeded Taunton to a 5-3 win over No. 9 Peabody Friday at Sortino Field on the campus of UMass for a repeat as state champion.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Consalvi, who has guided the Tigers (21-4) to championships in each of her two seasons as head coach.


“It’s not one person, it’s every single one of them. They pick each other up, they contribute, and they never gave up.”

In the final start of her high school career, Mendonca spun 6 ⅓ innings, allowing one earned run and three hits while striking out five. With a knee-buckling changeup and fantastic incorporation of off-speed pitches, the Framingham State-bound senior generated a plethora of soft contact.

“At first, I was really nervous but I had a lot of confidence in my team because I knew that they were going to back me up, no matter what,” Mendonca said.

But after walking the leadoff hitter in the top of the seventh with a 5-0 lead, Mendoca was pulled for freshman Catherine Larson (a move Consalvi later acknowledged that she “overthought.”). Larson recorded two outs, but Peabody (22-3) rallied with three runs, with sophomore Ava Grieco, sophomore Kiley Doolin, and freshman Jessica Steed scoring for a 5-3 game.

Mendonca re-entered the game, closing out her final contest on the highest note possible, with the third out, on a fly to left fielder Ava Venturelli.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers had plated four runs in the bottom.


Venturelli singled, junior Hayley Krockta laced a double down the third-base line, and freshman Brooke Aldrich blasted a two-run triple to center field.

“I was looking to attack the first pitch because I noticed from past batters that she was throwing a majority of first pitch strikes,” said Aldrich.

Mendonca grounded into a fielders’ choice, scoring Aldrich and senior Kylie Thorpe darted all the way around the bases off of an error in right field to push the advantage to 5-0.

In the third, Kaysie Demoura singled home Mia Fernandes.

“It’s incredible,” said Mendonca. “This is the best feeling I’ve ever had, in softball especially.”

Division 5 State

Greenfield 6, West Boylston 2 — Junior Rachel Dodge and senior captain Kaitlin Lavione each hit two-run singles, sparking a sixth-run fourth inning to lead No. 1 Greenfield (19-6) to the state championship at Sortino Field. The Green Wave captured the program’s first state championship, with their last appearance in the championship game coming in 1984.

Taunton pitcher Liv Mendonca allowed three hits and one earned run in 6 1/3 innings Friday in the Division 1 state final in Amherst. MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
Taunton’s Hayley Krockta greets, with enthusiasm, Mia Fernandes (2), who scored the game's first run against Peabody. MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
Peabody pitcher Abby Bettencourt throws to first for an out against Taunton in the Division 1 final in Amherst.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
A bouncer off the bat of Taunton's Hayley Krockta eluded Peabody shortstop Emma Bloom (11) in Friday's state final.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
It was a banner day -- and a Division 1 repeat -- for the Taunton softball team in Amherst. MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE/MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GL

Cam Kerry can be reached at cam.kerry@globe.com.