Sunday, June 9, 2013
D2 Central softball: Grafton 3, Leicester 2 (11 inn.)
By John McGuirk
WORCESTER, Mass. -- It was vintage tug-o-war softball-style between Grafton and Leicester. At the start of the postseason tournament, many believed the two CMass powers were on a collision course, once again, to lock horns in the Division 2 Central Mass. final for a third straight year. They were right as both teams supplied enough will and testament that 11 innings were needed to decide a victor.
A bases-loaded infield single by Kendal Roy in the top of the 11th plated Amanda Voellings with the eventual game-winner as the fourth-seeded Indians won their second consecutive title with a 3-2 victory. Roy was also stellar inside the circle. The junior allowed 8 hits and fanned 10. The Grafton defense supported Roy, turning in some solid play, in particular third baseman Tara Faford who made a couple of crucial web gems.
"We knew this was going to be a tough one coming in," said Roy, who is now 2-1 in district title contests against the Wolverines. "We wanted this one so badly that we were able to finally come out on top. As the game went on we just had to remain positive and not get down on ourselves. Defense wins games and that's what happened for us today."
Grafton (22-2) continues in its quest for back-to-back state titles when it meets the Wahconah/Belchertown winner (to be played Tuesday at 3 p.m.) in the semifinals at UMass with a time and day still to be decided. The third-seeded Wolverines, who last won a district crown two years ago, finishes up 20-3.
"That was anyone's game," Indians coach John Gemme said. "I hope it was as enjoyable to watch as it was for us to be involved in. Both teams hung in there and both never seemed to get rattled. There were good defensive plays made on both sides. It was a terrific game by both teams."
Grafton got to Wolverine starter Lauren Tuiskula for single runs in the first and fifth innings. In the opening frame, Leicester committed three errors which led to a Grafton run. In the fifth, Tara Faford opened with a double and sprinted home on Roy's single to left giving the Indians a two-run advantage.
To say both teams had ample scoring opportunities would be a vast understatement. For the game, Grafton left 15 runners on while Leicester stranded 10.
Six outs away from defeat, Leicester's offense, which threatened often but couldn't produce, finally came through in the bottom of the sixth. Two singles sandwiched around a walk loaded the bases.. An Ashley George fly to right-center field resulted in both outfielders colliding into one another plating two and tying it at 2-2.
"It's always been a close game when we play Grafton maybe not this crazy though," Leicester coach Dave Stanick said. "Tip your hat to Grafton. They've had a great run and I wouldn't be surprised if they won states again. I"m proud of my girls. Especially my five seniors who got us here."