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    Newton North, Methuen reach Division 1 North softball final

    Newton North celebrates their victory over Medford, in Division 1 North softball semifinals at Martin Park in Lowell, Thursday, June 14, 2018. Mark Lorenz for the Boston Globe.
    Newton North celebrates its victory over Medford in the Division 1 North softball semifinals in Lowell.

    Newton North scored twice in the first inning and Mia Patriacca was dialed in, allowing just four hits in the Tigers’ 2-1 Division 1 North sectional semifinal victory against Medford in Lowell.

    Newton North will play Methuen in the sectional final on Saturday.

    “She’s super resilient and just a fighter until the end,” Newton North coach Lauren Baugher said of Patriacca, who struck out eight. “Her demeanor on the mound is what I’d like every pitcher to be like. It’s almost like she thrives when things aren’t going well.”


    Emma MacLean led off the game with a base hit to left field and scored on an error on Izzy Antonelli’s slap bunt. Mia Bueno’s sacrifice fly drove in Antonelli for the 2-0 lead. Medford pitcher Samantha Melanson retired 18 straight batters before allowing a walk in the seventh.

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    “We lost a little bit of our discipline at the plate. We were swinging at some high pitches that we normally wouldn’t swing at,” Baugher said. “But it takes one run to win a game and we were lucky enough to get one more run than them.”

    Methuen 5, Concord-Carlisle 1 — Junior shortstop Nyah Mazzone went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored, igniting Methuen’s offense in its win over Concord-Carlisle in the other Division 1 North semifinal.

    “She’s battle-tested, she’s been our starting shortstop since she came here her freshman year and we really look to the older players and she’s led by example,” Methuen coach Jason Smith said. “She doesn’t say much but she let her bat do the speaking tonight.”

    After doubling to lead off the fourth inning Mazzone scored the game’s first run when a wild throw to second rolled into center field, allowing Mazzone to easily reach home. Methuen added a pair of runs in the fifth when Mazzone’s ground ball plated Taylor Cassidy. Then an Emma McAlpine RBI single plated Stephanie Tardugno to give the Rangers (20-3) a 3-0 lead.


    Concord-Carlisle scored its lone run in the bottom of the fifth before Methuen starter Jillian McCoy regained her form for the complete game win. The Methuen’s defense came up big behind McCoy, throwing out three runners on the bases, two of them at home plate.

    “I think our catcher does a great job of positioning herself at the plate,” Smith said. “I think we had some really good throws, I mean, it had to be almost perfect in those situations and we made the plays.”

    Newton North's Mia Patriacca allowed just four hits against Medford.
    Newton North's Mia Patriacca allowed just four hits against Medford.

    Division 3 North

    Amesbury 4, St. Mary’s 2 -- Senior pitcher Hayley Catania surrendered three hits and a run in the first inning before tightening up and allowing only two more hits over the duration. Catania’s performance helped power the Indians over St. Mary’s in Lowell and on to the Division 3 North sectional final.

    Catania finished with nine strike outs while scattering five hits.


    “She played really well today,” Amesbury coach Jacquie Waters said. “She ran into a few problems this year . . . but she wants to be there and she’s put in some extra time and worked on what wasn’t working and today in the circle she was exceptional.”

    It took a few innings for the Amesbury bats to get going but an Emma DiPietro triple in the fifth woke the offense up. Catania then drew a walk before Emma Catania drove DiPietro and Hayley Catania in with a single to left field, giving Amesbury a 2-1 lead.

    “I can’t say enough about my two captains. On the bench they got them going,” Waters said. “They talked about moving back in the box, things to look for, attacking the ball, sometimes just hearing those words helps.”

    Amesbury will face Austin Prep in the Division 3 North final on Saturday.

    After a shaky start, Amesbury pitcher Hayley Catania settled down and held off St. Mary’s.
    After a shaky start, Amesbury pitcher Hayley Catania settled down and held off St. Mary’s.

    Division 2 South

    Greater New Bedford 3, Norton 0 — In the top of the 11th with two outs, two strikes and the bases loaded, Greater New Bedford’s Skyla Berube drove a curveball from Norton ace Kelly Nelson to the gap in left-center for a ground-rule double, breaking a scoreless tie.

    The fifth-seeded Bears (19-4) completed the upset as sophomore Jenna Sylvia pitched a 1-2-3 11th, eliminating top-seeded Norton, 3-0, in Taunton to reach the Division 2 South sectional softball final.

    “If there was anyone on the team I wanted up, it was [Berube], and she proved why,” said Greater New Bedford coach Mark Collins.

    Before springing to life in a three-run, four-hit 11th, the Bears had a difficult time solving Nelson, the 2018 Gatorade Player of the Year who retired 19 straight batters between the second and eighth innings for the Lancers (21-2).

    “[Nelson] is the best pitcher in Massachusetts right now,” said Berube. “This picked us up. Honestly, I think today is the best game we ever played. I feel like we came together today as a team.”

    Norton finished with 19 strikeouts and ended her career with a record 1,331.

    “We had a little adjustment at the plate,” said Collins. “Early in the game we were deep in the box, then we moved up, she went on a run and we moved back. Tough rise ball, tough to lay off. And the girls made the adjustment.”

    Sylvia was solid as well, picking up her 16th win and seventh shutout of the season.

    The Bears hurler has yet to allow a run in the MIAA tournament, and finished the semifinal victory with five strikeouts, allowing only six hits.

    “The experience is definitely helping her a lot,” said Berube. “She’s hitting her spots a lot better. I feel like the focus is there and it’s just going to take her a long way.”

    Norton had several chances to win the game in extra innings.

    In the eighth, the Lancers ran into an out at second when Madison Correia overran the bag and was tagged out. In the 10th, Janet Jolly executed a squeeze bunt that scored Sofia Knopf, but the celebration was short-lived as the ball rolled inches foul.

    The Lancers scored just five runs in 25 postseason innings.

    Middleborough 1, Plymouth South 0 — In Taunton, the third-seeded Sachems (20-3) recorded their third consecutive one-run game of the tournament with its win over second-seeded Plymouth South (20-3) in the sectional final.

    ‘‘We knew we were going to have one or two shots,’’ said Middleborough coach Dan Sylvia. ‘‘One was good enough today. In the biggest game these kids have ever played in, they brought their A-game.’’

    Tori Ulrich popped a high fly ball to right field, driving in courtesy runner Kayla Hodge from third.

    In the circle, senior Laura Hatch and the Middleborough defense shut down the Panthers.

    Hatch scattered seven hits and a walk in a complete game, ending the game with her only strikeout.

    Plymouth South came close to scoring in the sixth with a runner on third and one out. Amelia Freitas raced home on a squeeze but Sachems catcher Maddie Kilpeck fielded the bunt and forced her out of the basepath.

    Globe Correspondent Dan Shulman reported from Taunton.