WORCESTER — With the score tied, 1-1, heading into the bottom of the third, Assabet Valley decided to put the game away Saturday. A four-run rally — three with two outs — gave the Aztecs a lead they would not relinquish, as they downed St. Mary’s, 5-2, in the Division 3 softball state championship game. It was the first state title in any sport for Assabet.
The Aztecs (21-4) put the pressure on in the second inning, scoring a run and threatening with runners on second and third with one out, but Spartan pitcher Brooke L’Abbe pitched out of the jam. St. Mary’s (20-6) responded in the next inning, as junior Alexandria Fisher led off with a base hit and scored thanks to an error and some smart base running.
Not to be outdone, the Aztecs came roaring back in the bottom of the third. Sophomore shortstop Jocelyn Orangio led off with an infield single on a bang-bang play at first. Senior Brittney Lutz followed with a sacrifice, but everyone was safe on a throwing error. Fellow senior Morgan Parmeter followed with a line drive into left-center that tipped off shortstop Molly Doyle’s glove, scoring Orangio.
Jennifer Casavant’s base hit loaded the bases before St. Mary’s got two quick force outs at the plate, but senior Nicole Cormier worked a bases-loaded walk, scoring Casavant. Deanna Hnilica reached on an infield single and a throwing error brought home two more runs to give the Aztecs a 5-1 lead.
“Everything is running through my mind right now, it’s just so exciting,” said Parmeter, whose sister, sophomore Madison, got the complete-game win. “We never shut down and we just kept our heads up the whole time.
“My sister was throwing the ball pretty well today, it’s amazing to play with her. Anybody would kill to play with their younger sister. To make school history is just so special.”
St. Mary’s mounted a mini-rally in the seventh when Cassandra LaFauci worked the count and laced a double down the third-base line. LaFauci scored on a throwing error she induced by taking third on a ground out.
Despite the disappointment, St. Mary’s coach Colleen Newbury is excited for the future of her program. The Spartans pitched two girls in relief — sophomore Jordan D’Orsi and eighth-grader Mia Nowicki. D’Orsi came on for the fourth and struck out two batters in a 1-2-3 inning, while Nowicki was perfect over two frames, striking out five of the six batters she faced.
“We just had that one flub inning and we couldn’t recover from it,” Newbury said. “You can’t get this far and have a bad inning. It’s just the way the ball bounces some days, it’s hard.
“But we have Jordan and Mia both back. [Nowicki’s] pretty poised — nothing bothers her and she just does her thing. We have a pretty talented young group. The future is definitely bright.
“Obviously this senior leadership will be missing next year, but we have a lot of kids to fill positions and hopefully be back here next year.”