LINCOLN — Down, but not out.
That was the mindset of the players of ninth-seeded Mount St. Charles Academy during their Division I playoff matchup with top-seed Lincoln High on Saturday.
Facing a three-run deficit entering the seventh inning, the underdog Mounties scored four times in the final frame en route to a 4-3 win over the Lions in the opener of the double-elimination tourney at Lonsdale Elementary School.
Taylor Messier tied the contest at 3 with a two-run double and teammate Emily Hendricks drove in the game-winner with base hit in the gap.
MSC coach Cliff Matthews felt a 6-4-3 double play by his defense an inning earlier helped create the spark in the productive seventh.
“That sort of got the girls going,” he said. “The girls felt like the game is not over until the final out and didn’t give up. Lincoln played clean softball. That’s a talented team. Our girls just kept pushing. There were a lot of contributions.”
Lindsey Mayer gave the Lions a quick 1-0 advantage with a first-inning homer. Lincoln also scored in the third and fourth innings on its way to jumping out to a 3-0 cushion.
Mount’s comeback in the final inning didn’t start off well as the leadoff hitter struck out. But the Mounties then loaded the bases with a walk and back-to-back singles from Hannah Gardella and Emily Hendricks. Nicole Grinsell drove in the first run for the Mounties with a groundout. With Gardella and Hendricks on second and third, Messier knotted the score with her two-bagger and Emily Hendricks finalized the score with her single.
The Mounties advance to a winner’s bracket contest with fourth-seeded Cumberland on Monday at 3:30 p.m. at Rhode Island College. The Lions play a losers’ bracket tilt with Bay View on Sunday.
Mount St. Charles 000 000 4 – 4-9-0
Lincoln 101 100 0 – 3-7-0
Kristen Rodrigues, Olivia Hendricks (6) and Alyssa Lanzi. Alyysa McCoart, Lindsey Mayer and Ali Dzialo. 2B – MSC, Taylor Messier. L, Emily Bouthilette. HR – L, Mayer
Cumberland wins thriller
EAST PROVIDENCE — “It was the most amazing game I have ever been involved in.”
Those were the words of Cumberland High coach Marty Crowley after his fourth-seeded club defeated No. 5 seed Bay View Academy, 6-5, in a 10-inning, opening-round playoff game at Tucker Field Saturday afternoon.
The Clippers overcame an early 4-0 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. After the Bengals came back with another run in the sixth for a 5-3 advantage, starting pitcher Bethany Paul (three hits) sent the game into extra innings with a two-run homer in the seventh. Bridget Connor’s sacrifice fly in the tenth to plate teammate Sam Bertheman solidified the win to earn the Clippers a winners’ bracket game with ninth-seeded Mount St. Charles on Monday at Rhode Island College.
“Everybody was a hero today,” Crowley said. “It was an epic victory for our program. They were resilient. They stayed mentally focused. It was a great game.”
Trailing by its 4-0 score entering the home half of the fifth, Cumberland’s Kelsey Cahill reached base on an error. Kayleigh Martins (two hits) followed with an RBI double and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Krissy Peffer. Paul singled and scored on a RBI base hit by Christina Speroni to get the Clippers within a run at 4-3.
After the Bengals took their 5-3 lead in the sixth, the Clippers knotted the contest in the seventh with Peffer hitting a single and Paul crushing her game-tying homer to deep left field.
With the international tie-breaker rule in effect, allowing a player at second base to begin the extra innings, the Clippers were finally able to break away in the 10th on Connor’s sacrifice fly. Just a half inning earlier, the Cumberland sophomore threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate from second base.
“There were so many twists and turns,” Crowley said. “It was a heck of a game. I am very proud of them. They battled and fought like heck and were rewarded for their efforts.”
Bay View 202 001 000 0 – 5-8-4
Cumberland 000 030 200 1 – 6-8-2
Bethany Paul and Kristy Peffer. MacKenzie Smith and Jazz Clarke. 2B – C, Kayleigh Martins. HR – C, Beth Paul.