Boston High School: Danielle Medeiros

Turners Falls captures fifth state softball crown

June, 18, 2011
WORCESTER, Mass. -- With one swing of the bat, Samantha Caouette turned a day of misery into something she'll never forget the rest of her life.

With the game scoreless in the bottom of the seventh, Turners Falls had a runner on first and nobody out. Caouette, who struck out and popped out in her first two plate appearances, desperately wanted to do something positive to lift her spirits. That she did, ripping a low fastball into the gap between right and center field for an RBI triple to give the Indians the Division 3 state softball crown yesterday at Rockwood Field on the campus of Worcester State University.

"In my first two at bats I was upset," said Caouette, a junior. "Coach (Gary Mullins) gave me the bunt sign in that last at bat but I fouled it off. He gave the bunt sign again but I didn't hear it and just swung the bat and it worked out well though so I'm happy."

Caoutte's heroics spoiled a superb performance from Case pitcher Shannon Orton. The junior handcuffed the Indians over the first six frames, allowing just four hits along with eight K's. But in the seventh, she wasn't so fortunate. Elysia Ollari opened the inning by reaching on an infield single thus setting the stage for Caouette's dramatics.

The Cardinals (19-7) will come away from this contest knowing they had their chances. In all, they stranded nine runners on base, including five in scoring position. But thanks to Turners Falls pitcher Emily Mailloux, Case could never strike for the big hit when it needed it most. Mailloux, a senior, allowed five hits and struckout five.

"We've been executing all year but today we had a little trouble executing," Cardinals coach Norm Beauchemin said. "I never expected (Caouette) to swing the bat the way she did there in the end. She placed that ball nicely. It went right through the gap and they just kept running. As for us, we had a great season and they're a classy bunch of girls on this team. We'll be back. I'm sure we will."

Twice did the Cardinals strand a runner at third but failed to get the run in. In turn, the Indians used that as inspiration knowing they dodged several bullets and came away unscathed.

For Turners Falls, it completed a perfect 25-0 season, the third unbeaten season in Mullins' 32 year career at the helm. The Indians will add their fifth state trophy into the showcase. As a Division 2 team, Turners Falls won titles in 2004 and 2005. Including yesterday's triumph, the Indians have claimed three Division 3 titles also achieving the feat in 2006 and 2008. For Case, it was looking to capture its first state championship since 2001.

The Cardinals' best chance to score came in the fifth after Danielle Robillard reached first on a throwing error. The sophomore was sacrificed to second and took third on a Shawna Marchand infield single. But Mailloux, who mixed her pitches well throughout, got Danielle Medeiros swinging at a third-strike change up to get out of the inning.

Turners Falls had an opportunity to take the lead in the sixth after Dakota Smith-Porter opened the frame with a single and would advance to second on a Mailloux ground out. Jenna Putala would pinch-run for Smith-Porter and moved to third on a pass ball.

However, the seventh-grader caught got in no man's land after Orton stabbed a Brittany York grounder and got Putala out following a rundown.

But in the seventh, the Indians were poised not to make any mistakes and get out of this thing without giving the Cardinals any life in extra innings. Thanks to Caouette, mission accomplished.

"Case's outfield was playing shallow all game long so I was just waiting for somebody to pop one," said Mullins. "We weren't getting it done but in the seventh we finally did. But honestly it was there for us all game long. We've been fortunate at times this season and now we're just happy that we got the championship."

TAUNTON, Mass. -- It all happened in the second inning.

Case, the defending Division 3 South softball champions, ran out to a 4-0 a lead over Avon in their sectional title game Friday at Taunton High.

Then, in the bottom of the second and leading 4-2, the Cardinals lost their ace Shannon Orton after a collision with a runner while making the final out of the inning.

In came Case first baseman Danielle Medeiros.

She’d thrown all of 11 innings all season, spelling Orton. But the left-hander didn’t miss a beat, hanging five scoreless innings on the Panthers to lead the Cardinals (18-6) to their second straight sectional title with a 5-2 victory.

“I usually don’t break under pressure like that, but I was scared,” Medeiros said of her emotions entering the circle.

While nerves might have temporarily taken a hold of Medeiros, she was on point, striking out six while allowing just one hit while taking the win.

“That’s a senior captain coming up and showing what she’s made of,” Case head coach Norm Beauchemin said. “She did a great job. She only had 11 innings this season, so to come on the mound in a situation like this, she did unbelievable. She showed some character.”

Medeiros entered the game with a 4-0 lead thanks to a four-run second inning.

Orton led off the inning with a triple and later came around to score on a passed ball. Cardinals lead-off hitter Allison Santerre provided the big hit of the frame, with a bases-clearing, three-run double to right.

Case added an insurance run in the fourth inning with Danielle Robillard’s RBI single.

Orton ran into some trouble in the first inning and fell behind 2-0 when Avon (19-5) snuck across an unearned run on an outfield throwing error and Stephanie Lynch’s fielder’s choice for an RBI.

However, the junior pitcher left the game after the fateful second. Orton snared a pop-up off the bat of Avon’s Alexandra Burns to end the inning, but collided with Burns while she was running down the first-base line. After suffering a concussion while playing basketball in January, she was taken out of the game as a precaution.

“She feels fine and I think she’ll be cleared for next week,” Beauchemin said of Orton’s condition.

Case will face off against the North sectional champion on Tuesday at Taunton with a 5 p.m. start time.

“After this year, I’m not playing anymore, so I want us to go far this year,” Medeiros said of her Cardinal teammates, who fell to eventual state champion St. Mary’s in last year’s state semifinal. “This is a good way to keep going.”

Thursday’s Division 2 semifinal between Hopkinton and Fairhaven, which was suspended in the top of the fifth inning, was finished earlier in the afternoon at Taunton.

The Hillers held true to where they’d left off (with a 5-0 lead) in taking a 5-0 win over the Blue Devils to advance to the sectional final.

The Tri-Valley League champions will face the winner of Saturday’s semifinal between Abington and Coyle-Cassidy.

Hopkinton (21-2) received a boost from junior left fielder Nicole Mellor, who drove in three of its five runs. Pitcher Michelle Cooprider also added an RBI single.

Cooprider was masterful in the circle and started the contest with seven straight strikeouts against the Blue Devils (18-5).

More amazingly, she only required the minimum 18 pitches in striking out the side in both the first and second innings.

Case takes big step toward SCC title

May, 16, 2011

NORTH DIGHTON, Mass. -- The South Coast Conference softball race is far from over, but the landscape became a little clearer through Monday’s raindrops at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional.

As is customary, the path to the SCC title goes through the Falcons.

But Case, the reigning Division 3 South champions, has shown it is again among the area’s top programs, joining the logjam that includes D-R, Greater New Bedford Voke and Fairhaven atop the standings. And the Cardinals made yet another point to affirm their place among the elite with a 5-2 win—their second of the season over D-R.

“They’re three-time reigning SCC champions,” Case head coach Norm Beauchemin exclaimed. “So yeah, this is big.”

Case (11-4, 10-2 SCC) pitcher Shannon Orton threw a complete-game four-hitter to take the win while striking out six. However, the victory didn’t come without complications as the Falcons (11-4, 10-3) loaded the bases in both the sixth and seventh innings, but were shut out.

“My catcher [Hailey Thibault] did a really great job calling the game today,” Orton said. “She did a really good job mixing the pitches, which makes a big difference.”

The Cardinals flew out to a 4-0 lead in the third. Ally Santerre put Case on the board with an RBI double to left. Danielle Medeiros followed with a sacrifice fly and Kadie Sullivan drove the Cardinals’ third run on a fielder’s choice. Orton capped the frame with a run-scoring two-out double.

Case struck again in the fifth with an unearned run against D-R starter Jill Rocha.

“We just didn’t play well enough to win today,” Falcons head coach Dave Driscoll said. “By my count, we gave them six extra outs during the game. You can’t do that against a team like Case.”

Catcher Nicole Lundstrom accounted for D-R’s offensive output with a two-run single in the fourth.

After earning their second win over the Falcons, the Cardinals hold a half-game lead on D-R in the SCC standings. Still, the league title is a long way from being decided as Case has two games to play against Fairhaven in the final two weeks of the regular season.

The Cardinals last won the SCC title in 2007, the year before D-R made its most recent run.

“These wins against D-R are huge,” Orton said. “They’re a good team, they’re always a challenge for us. To win two over them, it boosts us a lot. We’ve already made the tournament, so we know that, but the wins against them takes us into the next couple games.”