With the bases loaded, two outs, and a full count tied in the sixth inning, Taunton sophomore Rylie Murphy hit a ground ball that took a bad hop for a single into left field to break a 2-2 tie and give the Tigers a two-run lead over fourth-seeded King Philip (21-4).
The second-seeded Tigers (24-2) held on for the 4-2 victory to clinch the Division 1 South Sectional title on their home field.
“I was just looking to get the run in and try to win it,” said Murphy. “It’s like what you have in dreams. You hit it, you don’t know where it goes, and you’re running to first. You’re just so excited.”
The decision to put Murphy into the starting lineup was made shortly before game time as Taunton coach David Lewry inserted her as a designated player in the ninth spot on a hunch and it paid off.
“Rylie’s a kid who puts the bat on the ball,” said Lewry. “She very seldom strikes out. She probably only got up 16 or 17 times this season. We were having trouble out of that nine hole so I said ‘we’re going to put someone in there that can put the ball in play and makes things happen.”
With one out in the seventh inning, Tigers freshman pitcher Kelsey White ran into trouble, hitting two consecutive batters. Her catcher, senior captain Kya Enos, went out to settle down White as she’s done all year long.
“Kelsey gets a little nervous,” said Enos. “That girl has done nothing but pitch her heart out from the moment we started the season. I tried to just settle her down, told her ‘get these last two outs and then we’re out of here.”
White then retired the next two batters with the final out coming on a lunging catch by freshman shortstop Hanna Aldrich. It was redemption for Aldrich, whose throwing error in the fourth inning allowed King Philip (21-4) to take a 2-1 lead.
Taunton tied the game, 2-2, in the fifth on a Jaime Brown groundout, scoring Paige Sylvia who had doubled to start the frame.
Abington 2, Case 1 — The Green Wave wasted little time in the Division 3 South Sectional final in Taunton, plating runs in the first and third innings en route to their victory over Case.
Caitlin Murphy smacked a triple to deep center field in the first inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Lily O’Neil to give Abington (23-2) a 1-0 lead.
“Her triple really set the tone for what we wanted today,” Abington coach Kelsea Cheney. “It got us going, and then she knocked in a run and made a big out. That’s huge and it just gets everyone going and pumped up.”
Lauren Keleher tripled to lead off the third inning before Murphy’s sacrifice fly brought in the Green Wave’s final run. The two runs proved to be enough as pitcher Tori Young shut down Case. Young scattered seven hits in the complete-game win.
“Her changeup was really working today. She was keeping that nice and low, which she’s been working on so that was really nice to see,” Cheney said. “And she was keeping the ball on the outside of the plate, which we’ve been working on as well, so it was nice to see it all click.”
Autumn Medeiros doubled in the sixth to give Case (18-6) a spark. Medeiros advanced on a single by Alisa Feilhauer and scored on a throwing error to third.
Young then shut the door, allowing just one hit the remainder of the game.
Abington will advance to the Division 3 state semifinal to face the winner of the North final between Austin Prep and Amesbury.
Division 2 North
Winchester 5, Belmont 0 — The Sachems joined the Winchester girls in winning the North title and advancing to Tuesday’s EMass Division 2 championship game.
At first singles, Noah Criss cruised, 6-0, 6-0. His brother, Eli, won at second singles, 7-6, 6-3. Alex Dickinson won at third singles, 6-1, 4-6, 10-8.
At first doubles, Grant Andrews and Will Hofheinz took a 6-1, 7-5 decision. Owen Sullivan and Mark DeMichaelis won, 6-2, 6-1, at second doubles.
Winchester (18-2) will face Duxbury on Tuesday at St. John’s (Shrewsbury) in a rematch of the 2016 final, which was won by the Sachems.
Division 2 South
Duxbury 4, Scituate 1 — The Dragons swept Scituate during the regular season. But facing a lineup at full strength, the fifth-seeded Dragons (17-5) outlasted their Patriot League rival at Marshfield High for their third Division 2 South title in five seasons.
Duxbury will play Winchester for the state title Tuesday at St. John’s (Shrewsbury), seeking its first championship since 2013.
‘‘We've made a ton of progress over the season,’’ senior Charlie Swiderski said. ‘‘It wasn’t really expected for us, but we just showed up and played our game.’’
Ethan Hall (6-2, 6-2) and Guy Holbrook (6-3, 6-2) won at first and second singles, and the doubles tandems of Matt Fallon and Jake Berry (6-1, 7-5) and Swiderski and Maverick Schlosser (6-1, 2-6, 6-4) battled to earn wins.
‘‘I haven’t felt anything like it in all of tennis,’’ Holbrook said. ‘‘It’s a giant accomplishment for the whole team.’’
Division 1 South
Brookline 3, Wellesley 2 — After dropping the first set, 7-6, at first singles to Ana Herning, Sonya Khudyakov rallied in the final two, 6-4, 6-4, to secure the South title for the seventh-seeded Warriors (17-3) at Medway High.
Brookline will play Acton-Boxboro in a state semifinal Monday at Lexington High.
Wellesley made quick work of its Bay State Conference rival at third singles (6-3, 6-4) and second doubles (7-5, 6-1). Brookline stormed back with wins at second singles (6-2, 4-6, 6-3) and first doubles (6-4, 7- 6) to even the match at 2.
‘‘There’s a lot of chatter that’s going on and they are paying attention to what’s going on at the other courts,’’ Brookline coach Bruce Mallory said. ‘‘So Sonya doesn’t give up because it’s not for her. It’s for her team.’’
In the deciding set of the overall match, Khudyakov rushed out to a 3-0 lead before dropping two games.
The two players traded games again, bringing the match to 5-4. And with her teammates chanting her name behind her, Khudyakov aced the first serve of the game before clinching with three consecutive points.Brandan Blom also reported from Taunton. Bob Holmes reported from Reading, Trevor Hass reported from Marshfield, and Josh Schafer reported from Medway.