Friday, May 11, 2018

Scarlet Hawks Breakout the Bats to Tame Tigers

By John McGuirk (@Patsfan1313)

Newton, Mass. – For the second year in a row, Milford is the best softball program in the Bay State. Behind a lethal offense, along with strong pitching, Milford continues to make this game look easy.

Friday afternoon proved to be no different. In a rematch of last year's Division 1 state semifinal, the Scarlet Hawksscored runs in bunches en route to a commanding 13-0 victory over Newton North.

"We have the same approach for each game," said Scarlet Hawks coach Steve DiVitto. "It doesn't matter if the team we are facing is 0 and whatever or undefeated. Whatever the case may be you still need to have the same mindset every time out and our girls have done a great job of approaching each game the right way."

The Scarlet Hawks (14-0) erupted for 14 hits against a pair of Tigers’ pitchers and scored multiple times in three of the mercy-ruled six innings played. The defending state champions jumped out of the box early, scoring three times in the initial frame and never looked back.

RBI singles by Jess Tomaso and Shannon Cormier off of Newton North starting pitcher Mia Patriacca were sandwiched around a run-scoring passed ball that put the Tigers (7-4) behind the eight ball early. In last season's state semifinal, Milford prevailed 3-0. This time around, however, the Scarlet Hawks were able to inflict more damage.

For senior ace Kelley Reichert three runs would have been plenty. The right-hander was stellar inside the circle, pitching her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the first inning. Reichert went the distance, scattering five hits, walking one and fanning four. After surviving that nervous opening frame, Reichert was settled in nicely, never allowing another Newton North base runner to reach second base.

"Newton North is a terrific team, a terrific program and are very well-coached," DeVitto said. "We knew coming in that we needed to get off the bus and start fast against them. Fortunately, our girls continued to push and push and during the middle innings we were able to get some big hits and extend our lead. Kelley has been rock-solid for us all season long.”

With two outs in the Scarlet Hawks' third, Cormier kept the frame alive with a single. The senior quickly came all the way around to score a few moments later after Tigers third baseman Ciara Gillen committed an overthrow to first base on Reichert's ground ball to make it 4-0.

With this defeat, the Tigers have now lost four straight. Back-to-back losses versus Braintree were followed by a setback against Walpole. Hoping to turn its fortunes around, Newton North knew it was walking into a hornet's next against Milford.

After failing on its first inning opportunity, with Reichert striking out Kira Flegenheimer to close out the frame, Newton North was unable to conjure any more offensive chances the rest of way. 
In the top of the fifth, the Scarlet Hawks put this one out of reach with a four-run inning. A lead-off walk to Emily Piergustavo was followed by consecutive singles from Tomaso and Emily Hartman. Moments later, after a walked loaded the bases, senior Sabrina Haarstick (4 RBIs) lined a change-up into the power alley in left-center field for a grand slam to put Milford comfortably in front 8-0.

In the sixth inning the Scarlet Hawks went back to work. With one out, Milford filled the bases. Cormier, who finished with 3 hits and 4 RBIs, next lined a single into the left-centerfield gap scoring all three runners. Later in the inning Cormier came around to score on Reichert's double.

"We were all very pumped for this game," said Cormier. "We just wanted to keep moving on with our winning and that's what we did. It was kind of a slow ride in getting here today with all of the traffic but I guess that just made us want to get here even more.”

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