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D2 NORTH SOFTBALL | GLOUCESTER 14, TRITON 6

Extra, extra, Gloucester breaks out the bats in D2 North final

Elizabeth Schuster (trophy) and her Gloucester teammates were all smiles after their thunderous finish against Triton in the D2 North final in Lowell.
Elizabeth Schuster (trophy) and her Gloucester teammates were all smiles after their thunderous finish against Triton in the D2 North final in Lowell.(JENNA CICCOTELLI/FOR THE GLOBE)

LOWELL — In practice, the Gloucester softball team has been mentally preparing to play extra inning games in the tournament.

Locked in a 6-6 game after seven innings of Saturday’s Division 2 North final against top-seeded Triton Regional, the Fishermen broke away, and more, with a monstrous eight-run run eighth at Martin Field to capture their first sectional title with a 14-6 victory. It was the program’s first North final appearance since 2006.

“I never actually thought that it would happen like that, and it did,” said junior Madison Machado, who was 5 for 5 with three runs, two RBIs — including two hits and a run in the eighth inning. “We pulled it together. We did what we had to do.”

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Triton (19-2) took an early 1-0 lead in the first before Machado put the Fishermen (20-3) on the board, scoring on a passed ball after a triple.

After scoring the Vikings’ initial run after a stand-up triple in the first, freshman Mia Berardino (2 for 4, run) came up big for Triton again, knocking in Fay Paicos (3 for 4, 2 runs, RBI, double) to tie the game, 6-6, with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.

Gloucester pushed ahead the go-ahead run quickly in the eighth. Jenna Hoofnagle (2 for 4, two runs) led off with a single. Her pinch runner, Isabelle Reiniger, made her way around the bases and scored when Natalie Aiello reached on a fielder’s choice.

“I said, ‘Girls, nothing in life comes easy. This isn’t either,’ ” said Gloucester coach John Nicastro. “They went out and shut them down and brought them in again.”

Gloucester will play South champion Norton in a Division 2 state semifinal.


Jenna Ciccotelli can be reached at jenna.ciccotelli@globe.com.