D1 Softball Final: B-R 9, Holy Name 0

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Holy Name knew all to well the one thing it couldn't afford to do was spot Bridgewater-Raynham an early lead. Falling behind and having to face a dominant pitcher would be a formula for doom.

Somewhere along the way, the Naps lost sight of that premise. The Trojans were literally handed five runs in the first inning of Saturday night's Division 1 state final. That was certainly more than enough run support for Sarah Dawson as the B-R flamethrower took over from there.

Dawson, a 6-foot-1 junior, handcuffed Holy Name all evening long, allowing just one hit and striking out seven to help lead the Trojans to an easy 9-0 victory at Rockwood Field. The state title marks the first for B-R as it completes a remarkable 25-1 season.

"Sarah had good control by using her power today and using her change-up a lot to keep them off-balance," Trojans head coach Mike Carrozza said. "She controlled the game with her power pitches and staying in and out on them and then using her change-up.

"It was a fantastic run for us this year. I think looking back on the last three years we are something like 80-4 so that's a good three years. We had a lot of energy going into this game and a lot of confidence. We showed a lot of patients and the girls knew what they had to do to win and they did it."

In six tournament starts inside the circle, Dawson allowed only one run, as well as tossing a pair of no-hitters. Had it not been for Ama Biney's single off her in the sixth inning, Dawson would've added a third postseason no-hitter to her resume.

"I just went out there focused," said Dawson, a University of Pittsburgh commit. "You need to be focused and know what you want and we all wanted to win a state championship. To do that you've gotta be dominant. All of this probably won't sink in for another week or two. I still can't believe we won a state championship. I'm pretty shocked about that."

Following the five run first, this game was over. The Naps appeared tense to begin this tilt and it showed quickly. Four errors in the opening frame paved the way for B-R. It all started with Madison Shaw, the team's spark plug, reaching on an error. The Fordham University-bound senior hit a hard grounder to first baseman Danielle Rocheleau.

The sophomore could not field it cleanly and Shaw, sprinting down the line and finishing with a head first dive, beat Rocheleau to the base. After stealing second, Shaw came around to score the Trojans' first run on Emily Kurkul's double to centerfield.

"That first inning showed (Holy Name) that we are fighters and we will do anything it takes to get on base," Shaw said. "Getting a big lead like that in the first inning takes a lot of pressure off of Sarah and once the pressure is off she can go out there and throw her game. She does her thing inside the circle and we do our thing at the plate."

With Taylor Poulin running for Kurkul, the inning continued with a walk to Jenny Heller. Kelsey Leuenberger next hit a chopper that was mis-handled by second baseman Heather Drummond allowing Poulin to cross the plate.

The horror show for Holy Name continued one batter later with two more runs crossing the plate. Stephanie Cavallaro hit a comebacker to Naps pitcher Kelsey Saucier but the senior threw off-target to first with Cavallaro reaching safely and Heller scoring.

On the play, Rocheleau, seeing Leuenberger racing home, threw the ball to catcher Deanna DiPilato, who failed to catch it as it rolled towards the backstop fence and extending B-R's lead to 4-0. Things continued to snowball out of control for the Naps in the frame after Cavallaro came home on a Saucier wild pitch.

"Nothing went well for us tonight," said Holy Name head coach Aimee Lee, her team finishing at 22-3. "It's kind of sad because we didn't get to show (B-R) the kind of team we really are. Things seemed to fall apart after that first error and it just went downhill from there."

Except for a couple of Trojan miscues, the Nap batters continued to make a bee-line towards their dugout. Although Holy Name was making contact with some of Dawson's pitches, the majority of them were being hit directly to the defense. B-R would add a solo run off of Saucier (7 hits, 5 Ks) in the fourth on an RBI single off the bat of Kurkul.

Two innings later, the Trojans turned this into a rout. With one out Poulin and Shaw singled. Stacey Korotsky followed by laying down a bunt towards Drummond. The junior immediately came up firing to third in an attempt to nail Poulin. However, her throw sailed wide which allowed both Poulin and Shaw to cross the plate. Heller followed that up by roping a double to left to bring Korotsky in.

"We thought this would a nitty-gritty type of game right to the end," said Shaw. "The last thing on our minds was for us to get five runs in the first inning. When we started off with five runs it really calmed the rest of the team down. It felt pretty good. We feel if we put the ball in play it forces the other team to try and get us out. Sometimes teams make errors along the way and we try to take advantage of those."