TAUNTON, Mass. – Bridgewater-Raynham was extremely motivated going into Monday’s Division I South championship softball game against North Attleborough.
Just ask winning pitcher Sarah Dawson.
“I think we were pumped to be here,” Dawson said after she tossed a 2-0 no-hitter at the sixth-seeded Rocketeers. “We just wanted this because everybody’s been saying that we don’t play in the ‘Hock’ (i.e. the Hockomock League). We play a less-tougher schedule (in the Old Colony League). So, obviously North Attleboro is a better team because it plays in the Hock.
“We just wanted to show that B-R is a good team even though we don’t play in the Hock. The Hock’s not the most important thing in the world. I think we showed that.”
But beating a Hockomock League team wasn’t the only reason the top-seeded Trojans (23-1) were pumped to play the Red Rocketeers (18-4).
“Ever since that day I wanted to come back to this field,” Dawson said while referring to the 7-0 pasting B-R endured last year against Milford in the South Sectionals. “I felt it was a huge disappointment to me team last year because it was a 7-0 shutout and we lost.
“It was good to shut out this team now and get back in the game.”
Worthy opponent: Dawson, who’s already committed to Pittsburgh, had her own reason to be motivated considering her mound opponent was Megan Colleran, who finished with a one-hitter.
“There may have been a little [motivation] because she was the Gatorade Player of the Year and it was well-deserved,” Dawson said. “She’s a great pitcher and a great athlete. She’s done a lot for her team.
“I think we wanted to show we were just as good as her team.”
The Trojans were so good on Monday that now they advance to the state semifinals where they’ll take on Revere in a 7 p.m. game on Saturday at Lowell’s Martin Park.
And just how good was Dawson?
*She threw 57 of 81 pitches for strikes.
The Rocketeers only hit one ball to the outfield, Colleran’s liner to center with one out in the seventh.
She only walked one batter, struck out five and extended her consecutive tournament scoreless streak to 28 innings.
After issuing her lone walk (to Jillian Costello who led the third), Dawson retired the last 15 Rocketeers and finished with five strikeouts.
The no-hitter was her second of the tournament and fifth of the season.
“I didn’t even know it to be honest,” Dawson said of her no-hitter. “I don’t really focus on that when I’m in a game.”
What coach Mike Carrozza focused on was the fact the Trojans have out-scored their four tournament opponents by a combined margin of 23-0.
“We have four shutouts and she’s got two no-hitters,” Carozza said. “It almost was like another day at the office for her because it was her fifth no-hitter this season.”
B-R played the “iron": Carozza also dismissed the contention that B-R played a “soft” schedule.
“I’ve been coaching for 17 years and there always are little people saying ‘It depends on who you’re playing or who you’re not playing’ and this and that,”
Carozza said. “When we started going into the tournament this year, eight out of the nine teams we played this year we’re all in the tournament.”
In retrospect, B-R scored the only run Dawson would need in the first. Madi Shaw and Stacey Korotsky drew leadoff walks and Emily Kurkul dropped down a sacrifice bunt. Stephanie Cavallaro was hit by a pitch to load the bases and, one out later, Kelsey Luenberger walked to force in Shaw.
The Trojans added the obligatory insurance run in the third. Kurkul led with a single and courtesy runner Taylor Poulin stole second. Poulin advanced a base on Cavallaro’s sacrifice bunt and scored when Colleran threw away Jenny Heller’s bouncer to the mound.
In addition to Dawson’s near-flawless pitching, her teammates backed her with flawless defense.
“Depending on how many strikeouts we had in between, the defense played errorless ball and they made a lot of nice plays,” Carozza said. “It could have gone either way.”