TAUNTON, Mass. -- A year ago, the Abington softball team was in the midst of a comeback bid against Coyle-Cassidy in the Div. 1 South semifinals when third baseman Stephanie Cornish slid into second base and broke two bones in her leg.
After undergoing surgery and not being able to walk for two and a half months, Cornish missed the fall soccer season while rehabbing. She was able to get back in time for basketball in the winter, but when spring rolled around, Cornish and her Green Wave teammates felt they had some unfinished business to take care of.
With Cornish playing a pivotal role in what was a stellar defensive performance, No. 1 Abington finished what they tried to do last year by capturing the south sectional title with a 3-1 victory over No. 3 Fairhaven Sunday at Taunton High School.
"Last year I broke my ankle. We were in the middle of a comeback too," Cornish recalled. "We were playing Coyle-Cassidy and I slid into second base and I broke my ankle - but I was safe though so that was good. But I think that kind of slowed our comeback a little and we ended up losing. Making it all the way this year is a great feeling. I can't describe it."
Cornish recorded a putout and three big assists in the later stages of Sunday's contest, emblematic of the way the Green Wave (22-2) settled down defensively after committing a pair of first inning errors that led to Fairhaven's (20-3) only run.
The defense provided a big boost behind Abington ace Kelly Norton, who scattered four hits and struck out six while setting down 16 of the last 17 hitters she faced from the third inning on.
"Since I have been at Abington Kelly has won 43 games and only lost four," said Green Wave coach Ernie Ortega. "That will tell you what kind of competitor she is and she does not let things get her down. It was very easy for them to get down after being down 1-0.
"We weren't making contact but once we tied the game and then took the lead, there was no looking back" he continued. "It's only the second time we've been down since I think the beginning of May. That was a testament to these girls. They showed they can play with the best of them."
A bit of nervousness played a role in a choppy start for Abington as the Lady Blue Devils put together a run when Kayli Moniz led off the game with a double and scored two batters later on a throwing error.
The Green Wave were to cash on mistakes as well, as Liz Morgan tied the game in the second, scoring after a double and a throwing error. Abington took the lead for good in the third when both MacKenzie Gillis and Jill Marella came all the way around after a pair of errors on Marella's bunt attempt.
Norton slammed the door shut from that point on, shaking off the nerves and allowing just a sixth inning double over the final five innings.
"Everyone just needed to take a deep breath because we always get nervous," Norton admitted. "Everyone's on the bus freaking out and jittery and we all just need to remember its just a game. We've played what, 23 times before this game? Everyone just relaxed and got back at it and collectively we did our job."
Norton added, "After the first two innings, I could tell I wasn't fully warmed up. Yesterday I was on it, I could feel I was in the zone. But after those first couple of innings I got down to basics and it just worked I guess."