Methuen claims D1 North title in comeback win
LOWELL — Earlier this week, a video was sent out in the Methuen softball team’s group message. It showed the Newton North softball team celebrating after defeating Methuen in last year’s D1 North final.
Now the Rangers can make their own celebration video.
After falling behind, 2-0, third-seeded Methuen used a six-run fifth inning to push past second-seeded Acton-Boxborough, 6-2, at Martin Field in Lowell, winning its first D1 North title since 2015.
“Our mind-set was, ‘We’re not losing again,’ ” center fielder Stephanie Tardugno said. “We’re back here. We’re not just going to go home. In our minds, we’re like, ‘We’re winning this game, no matter what.’ ”
Tardugno knocked in the winning run for the Rangers (20-4) when she tripled to score Kerri Horan, who had reached on a fielding error. The play opened the floodgates for the Rangers, who had already tied it at two, as they continued to run up the score. Emma McAlpine, Jillian McCoy, Claudia Crowe, Nyah Mazzone, and Dana Littlefield also reached for Methuen in the five-hit inning.
“We go the way that she goes,” Methuen coach Jason Smith said of Tardugno, his leadoff hitter. “She knew her time was going to come. She made an adjustment and drove it to the gap, and I can’t say enough.”
McCoy, a junior, went the distance in the circle, striking out eight and scattering five hits. For the Colonials (22-2), junior Lauren Meinhold fanned one and walked two, allowing seven hits.
Methuen advances to the state semifinal against the winner of Sunday’s D1 South final between Bridgewater-Raynham and Bishop Feehan (TBA).
Jenna Ciccotelli can be reached at email@example.com.