AMHERST, Mass. -- Mount Everett was feeling it. After putting together six solid innings of shutout ball, and leading 1-0, the Eagles entered the seventh and final inning of Wednesday’s Division 3 state semifinal a bit giddy knowing they stood on the cusp of earning their first state final appearance in school history.
With their junior hard-throwing pitcher Alicia Bazonski tossing zeros on the scoreboard, conditions seemed ideal for this Berkshire-based school to continue in its history-making quest.
Not so fast.
Central Mass. champ Assabet Valley, who were virtually non-existent at the plate over the first six frames showed some much-needed life in the seventh. The Aztecs were able to push across the tying run in the frame and then added two more in the eighth to claim an improbable 3-1 triumph at UMass.
What the Eagles failed to accomplish in their inability to tack on a couple of more runs during regulation would prove to be their demise. Assabet, a team noted for scratching and clawing until the final out, stuck to the script and the end result is an opportunity to bring home its first state championship. The Aztecs will face St. Mary’s of Lynn for the title on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. from Worcester State University’s Rockwood Field. The Eastern Mass. champs won back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010.
Needing any kind of lift, the Aztecs finally got one in the seventh. Senior Morgan Parmeter led things off by stroking a single to right. After stealing second, Parmeter took third on a Jen Casavant ground out. With Mount Everett’s infield drawn in an attempt to keep Parmeter at third on any ground ball, sophomore Maddie Parmeter, Morgan’s younger sister, ripped a hard single to right to knot game at 1-1.
“Nobody on this team wants to go home," Maddie Parmeter said. “Especially our seniors who didn’t want this to be their last game. I knew my sister was on third base and I wanted to get her home, so I just hit the ball as hard as I could. I think they were expecting bunt so I just pulled back and hit it and was able to get it past them."
Assabet’s dugout, which resembled a morgue over the first six innings, suddenly rose to life. The following inning, the Aztecs stuck the dagger in the backs of the Eagles. With two out, Brittney Lutz reached on an infield single but never stopped running. The senior ended up beating the throw to second putting the go-ahead runner into scoring position.
Lutz later revealed that she thought the ball had gotten away from first baseman Natasha MacLeay and kept on running. MacLeay, after receiving the throw from shortstop Emily Coon, hesitated long enough to allow Lutz to slide into second safely.
A bit discombobulated over the previous events, Bazonski tossed a wild pitch which allowed Lutz to easily take third. Morgan Parmeter next lined a solid single to right to put Assabet ahead. Casavant followed by ripping a hard grounder off the glove of third baseman Sam Hoover and into left field which resulted in a double and plating Parmeter with an insurance run.
In the bottom half of the eighth, Maddie Parmeter (CG, 4 hits, 5 Ks) set the Eagles down in order giving the Aztecs (20-4) their first crack to win a state crown in any sport in school history.
Having last reached the semifinal round back in 1990 when it lost to Hopedale, Mount Everett (21-2) claimed a one-run lead in their half of the third. A one-out double by Brooke Morehouse was proceeded by Chandler DeGrenier’s RBI single.
“Give Assabet the credit because they stayed with it," Eagles coach Kurt DeGrenier said. “They put the ball in play against Alicia [Bazonski] and were taking choppy swings and hitting line drives. We held them off for six innings and then they got us. I’m proud of our girls because they had a great season but today you have to give their pitcher a lot of credit. She wasn’t throwing very hard but was keeping us off-balanced. We didn’t put the ball in play very hard at all against her."
The way Bazonski was hurling, it appeared as though one run might be enough. Bazonski surrendered seven hits and struck out seven.
“That girl is a great pitcher,” Assabet coach Mike O’Brien said. “She spotted the ball well on the outside corners and throws in the lower 60s consistently. For some reason our girls never got down. We were down 1-0 going into the seventh and anyone could’ve folded at that point in time. But the character and integrity of this team is don’t stop fighting until the very last out is recorded. We started to get to (Bazonski) a little late but she’s a real competitor and I give their coaching staff a lot of credit too.”
Wahconah Regional 10, Belchertown 0
Chloe Warren, Gabrielle Lavino, Liz King and Rachel Brennan all had two hits to lead the second-seeded Warriors to a 10-0 thumping of Belchertown in the Western Mass. Division 2 final. Warren also drove in a pair.
The Warriors (21-2) scored five runs in the first inning and added five more in the fifth to put this one away. It also marked Wahconah's 21st straight victory after starting the season 0-2. The Warriors face Central Mass. and defending state champion Grafton here on Thursday in the state semifinal beginning at 3 p.m. The top-seeded Orioles complete their season at 19-5.