Boston High School: Shannon Orton

ESPN Boston MIAA softball All-State team

June, 22, 2012
6/22/12
2:21
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Starting Rotation – First Team
All-StateKiara Amos, Sr., Malden
The Providence College signee led the Golden Tornadoes to their first-ever state finals appearance after claiming the Eastern Mass. title. Amos went 15-1 for Malden, notching 195 strikeouts in 105 innings thrown all while boasting a 0.47 ERA. The right-hander set another first for Malden’s program as its first-ever Div. 1 college scholarship player.

All-StateMeghan Rico, Sr., King Philip
Rico concluded her high school career as one of the most decorated players in the state, a winner of two state championships and last year’s ESPN Boston Miss Softball. The George Washington signee went 17-3 for the Warriors this season, striking out 274 in 142 innings thrown while surrendering just 10 earned runs all season.

All-StateSarah Ropiak, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
Headed to Brown University next year, Ropiak was a three-time Dual County League All-Star and earned MVP honors in the large division this season. The right-hander posted an ERA of 0.69 while leading the Colonials to a Division 1 North final appearance.

Kendal Roy, Soph., Grafton
The second-year sensation lifted the Indians to their first-ever state championship with a win over Abington in the Div. 2 final. Roy went 18-1 with an ERA of 0.72 in 126 innings thrown with 176 strikeouts while allowing just 11 walks.

All-StateShannon Smith, Jr., Milford
The University of Kentucky commit was near unhittable this season while leading the Scarlet Hawks to an undefeated season and the Division 1 state title. This year’s ESPN Boston Miss Softball Award recipient was also named Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year for the second time (2010, ’12) in her career.

Starting Nine – First team
Katie Caruso, Sr. SS, Newton North
Caruso won the Bay State Conference’s triple crown, leading the league in batting average (.662), home runs (10) and RBI (47) while also clubbing a conference-best 51 hits. The Bay State MVP was also a standout on the Tigers’ hockey team. The four-year starter will continue her playing career next year at Southern New Hampshire University.

Lexi Gifford, Sr. SS, Natick
While Caruso may have been named Bay State Conference MVP, Gifford has been the league’s most valuable lead-off hitter during the last four years. The UConn signee hit at a .615 clip while driving in 33 runs for the Red & Blue this season. Gifford was also a true three-sport athlete at Natick, as a four-year letter-winner in soccer, basketball and softball.

All-StateBri Chiusano, Sr. CF, Mansfield
One of the most feared lead-off hitters in the state and a superb slap hitter, the Hockomock League All-Star showed off her power as well with four home runs this season. The Coastal Carolina signee finished second in the Hock in hitting with a .521 batting average.

All-StateOlivia Godin, Sr. C, King Philip
The UMass-Amherst signee was a four-year starter for the Warriors, helping guide the program to back-to-back state titles in 2010-11. The backstop hit .299 this season with three home runs and 18 RBI.
All-StateAlexis DeBrosse, Jr. SS, New Bedford
Already a three-time New Bedford Standard-Times Player of the Year award winner, the three-time Big Three All-Star hit .521 for the Whalers this season. The three-sport athlete also hit five home runs with 26 RBI and a slugging percentage of 1.099.

All-StateJulie LeClair, Sr. 3B, Coyle-Cassidy
Comprising one half of the state’s best left side of the infield, along with shortstop Patty Borges, the St. Anselm signee led the Warriors to the EAC crown with a league-best .527 average. The three-sport athlete also clubbed a league-leading five home runs along with 32 RBI.

All-StateBella Picard, Jr. SS, Blackstone Valley Tech
The nation’s leading hitter resided in Upton this year with the Beavers’ shortstop hitting an astounding .877 (57-for 65). The converted soccer player also tied for the state lead in home runs with 10 while driving in 43 runs.
All-StateMadi Shaw, Soph. SS, Bridgewater-Raynham
The second-year shortstop powered the Trojans to their first-ever Division 1 South sectional crown. Shaw hit .471 with eight home runs and 34 RBI for the Old Colony League champions.

Reilly Weiners, Jr. C, Agawam
Weiners helped lead the Brownies to the Division 1 West sectional title this season. The backstop led all Div. 1 players in Western Mass. with 35 RBI while knocking out 38 hits on the season, including three home runs.

Bullpen – second team
Megan Colleran, Soph., North Attleborough
Megan Cook, Soph., Bellingham
Mackenzie Coopinger, Sr., Lynn Classical
Audrey Dolloff, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
Courtney Girouard, Soph., Fairhaven
Trish Hansen, Sr., Mansfield
Shelby Higgins, Sr., Lowell
Kelly Norton, Sr., Abington
Shannon Orton, Sr., Case
Lauren Ramirez, Jr., Dracut
Jurnee Ware, Sr., Hudson

Bench – second team
Patty Borges, Sr. SS, Coyle-Cassidy
Tori Constantin, Jr. 2B, King Philip
Caroline Fairbanks, Jr. 3B, Milford
Courtney Hoban, Sr. OF, Boston Latin
Emily Hoffman, Sr. C, Malden
Nicole Lundstrom, Jr. C, Dighton-Rehoboth
Michaela Mazure, Fr. INF, Burlington
Kelsey Perron-Sovik, Sr. CF, Fairhaven
Christina Raso, Sr. SS, Burlington
Dakota Smith-Porter, Jr. P/SS, Turners Falls

COACH OF THE YEAR
John Furlong, Malden

D3 softball: Turners Falls claims 6th state title

June, 16, 2012
6/16/12
5:58
PM ET


WORCESTER, Mass. -- If this was indeed Gary Mullins’ final game as head coach, then the long-time mentor of the Turners Falls softball program leaves on his terms as champion.

Today, in the Division 3 state final held at Worcester State University’s Rockwood Field, the Indians captured their sixth state title with a 4-0 triumph over Case.

The sixth crown ties Apponoquet Regional with second most all-time in the state. Only Bishop Fenwick has attained more with eight.

Following the victory, Mullins did not want to dicuss his uncertain future, but instead focus the attention on his team.

“I thought the kids played some real-nice softball today,” said Mullins, who wrapped up his 33rd season with an incredible overall record of 553-131. “The kids really stepped up today. It was pretty impressive.”

Case (18-8) entered this tilt looking for some redemption following last year’s 1-0 loss to Indians in the finals. Senior pitcher Shannon Orton (4 H, 11 K) came out poised and strong striking out seven of the first eight batters she faced. Likewise, Turners Falls hurler Dakota Smith-Porter (1 hit allowed) was equally stout in the pitcher’s circle. Although not registering as many strikeouts (3) as Orton, nonetheless, the junior was pitching to contact and allowing her defense to make the plays behind her.

“The way [Turners Falls] was playing defense, they weren’t outstanding but they were solid," said Cardinals coach Norm Beauchemin, whose club began the year 0-4. “You put the ball in the air they’re going to catch it. For us, Shannon has been great for us all year and started out very strong today. But after a while good hitters are going to catch up to her. Last year I wasn’t too happy walking off this field but this year I have nothing to be sad about. Our girls gave me what they had and today the better team won."

In the second inning, Case looked as thought it would get on the board first. Orton led off the frame with a double to right-center. With Samantha Gouveia inserted as a pinch-runner, she would advance to third on Mary Vanlingen’s sacrifice bunt. Kadie Sullivan was then hit by a pitch and proceeded to steal second, putting two in scoring position with only one out.

Jenna Reposa next hit a medium-deep fly ball to left. With Couveia tagging on the play, Indians’ left fielder Amber Caouette threw a strike to catcher Morgan Ozdarski, who applied the tag on Couveia and the threat had vanished.

“That was a big play," Mullins said. “We made the plays today and did the right things the entire game so I was extremely pleased."

Turners Falls would finally get to Orton in the its half of the fourth. The right hander lost a bit of control by walking Jenna Putala and Jenna Costa to open the inning. Smith-Porter then stepped to the plate and promptly drove a double off of the centerfield fence giving the Indians a 2-0 lead.

While Smith-Porter appeared to get stronger inside the circle as the game progressed, the Cardinals had no answers in how to attack her. While at the time a two-run lead appeared safe the way Smith-Porter was dealing, the Indians had no intentions of letting up.

“Dakota played like an absolute champion today," added Mullins. “She came through big time for us. She had that big hit in the fourth and gave us seven full innings in the pitcher’s circle. She should be extremely proud in what she has done. She’s a terrific athlete and a great kid."

Turners Falls added to its total in the sixth. Costa walked and swiped second. Orton then retired the next two batters leaving it up to Tanisha Sanders. The junior (11-for-17 in the postseason) didn’t disappoint as she belted an 0-2 fastball over the left field fence for some added insurance.

“I was thinking anything close you have to swing,” Sanders said. “I don’t always do well in an 0-2 hole but I came through today and am proud of myself.”

Smith-Porter proceeded to set down Case in order in the top of the seventh, sparking a jovial celebration on the diamond.

“I was thinking anything close you have to swing,” said Sanders. “I don’t always do well in an 0-2 hole but I came through today and am proud of myself.”

LAST HURRAH?
Concerning Mullins’ immediate future. All of this came about recently when he announced that he would retire as a physical education teacher at Turners Falls. Mullins still wanted to remain on as part-time AD, however, but because the teaching and AD positions are considered part-time and are linked together and viewed as full-time, he was told that he could no longer serve as AD. With that notion decided, Mullins was later told he most-likely would not be retained as boys' basketball coach where he has already claimed 300 victories, and could also lose out on softball too, should someone in the school system apply for the position. Mullins was informed that he could re-apply for both coaching positions but with no guarantee he will be retained.

According to local residents, blame has been cast towards school administrators and committee members. For whatever reason, whether it be jealousy or dislike, they are trying to push Mullins out. Forgetting the fact that it is Mullins who is responsible for putting this small high school and the town of Montague on the map with his coaching success, particularly in softball. Over the last couple of weeks, Mullins has received a tremendous amount of support from local townspeople and former and present players alike in an effort to keep him on as coach. School administrators and committee members have gone silent regarding the situation despite the outcries which have come their way.

Hope is that something will be done relatively soon. Without a doubt, the right thing to do is allow Mullins to continue to coach both sports for as long as he wants to.

How can you argue with his success?

D3 EMass softball: Case 4, Matignon 3

June, 13, 2012
6/13/12
12:53
AM ET
LOWELL, Mass. –- After tearing her ACL in December, Case senior pitcher Shannon Orton had an important decision to make. If she chose to undergo surgery she would not be able to compete with her teammates in her final high school season and attempt to win that elusive state championship. Orton decided to rehabilitate the injury and pitch through the pain with the support of a brace on her knee.

Her decision continued to pay off as Orton and her teammates will have another shot at the MIAA Division 3 championship on Friday as Case defeated Matignon 4-3 in the Eastern Mass. D3 championship game on Tuesday night.

“I postponed the surgery so that I could hopefully get back to another state championship,” Orton said. “We all fell short last year and I knew that this team had the potential to do it. After talking to my doctor and getting his okay I worked hard in the gym, with my pitching coach and with these girls. We all worked hard and we will have another shot at it.”

Orton and Matignon senior starting pitcher Lauren Doneski both pitched strong games as they both battled out of multiple middle-inning, bases-loaded jams to keep the game close and both of their teams alive.

Trailing 2-1 heading into the top of the sixth inning, Orton appeared to tweak her injured knee between innings as she took the mound. Orton battled through the injury and remained in the game. Despite giving up a run in the inning the senior buckled down and got out of any future trouble with a strikeout and a big defensive play from third baseman Kelsey Pacheco.

“She is tough,” Case head coach Norm Beauchemin said of Orton. “She tweaks a knee and she still comes back. She is as tough as nails and she is determined this year.”

Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Case (18-7) overcame a two-run deficit to plate three runs and take a 4-3 lead. Orton led off the inning with a walk followed by singles from Mary VanLingen and Kadie Sullivan. With the bases loaded, junior shortstop Jenna Reposa ripped a base hit to left field that that eluded the leftfielder scoring all three runs.

“Even though we made some minor mistakes throughout the game we found the strength to get together and get it done,” Orton said. “We found a way to put those hits together at the end and Jenna had a great hit.”

With their first lead since the third inning Orton would rear back to strike out two batters and seal the win for Case.

“This journey has been a long journey,” Beauchemin said. “We survived today and the kids never quit. Even the games we lost during the course of the season we always had a chance to win. These girls never ever give up. They are as tough as nails, they are determined and they have a lot of confidence in each other.”

Doneski Shines: Despite Matignon’s loss Doneski had an amazing run on the mound and at the plate for the Warriors. She provided the game’s two best hits with a pair of 200 foot doubles over the head of Case’s outfielders. The first of her two doubles drove in a run and the senior also scored twice for Matignon (17-9) .

Doneski also mixed up her pitches to keep Case on their toes all night. Doneski was also involved in four putouts on the evening as she did a great job fielding her position.

Rematch: Case returns to Saturday’s state title game to face a familiar foe in Central/ Western Mass. champion Turners Falls.

Turners Falls defeated Assabet Valley 6-5 in the D3 Central/Western Mass. championship game on Tuesday night.

Turners Falls also defeated Case last season 1-0 in Worcester to claim the MIAA D3 crown. Orton threw a gem for Case but fell short to the shutout performance of Turners Falls’ hurler Emily Mailloux.

“It is really exciting,” Orton said. “We have worked real hard and stayed together as one unit the entire season. We are ready.”

Preseason MIAA softball All-State team

March, 30, 2012
3/30/12
3:02
PM ET
Today we kick off our high school coverage of the spring season with our preseason MIAA softball All-State team, as selected by ESPNBoston.com staff and state high school coaches.

STARTING ROTATION
Kiara Amos, Sr., Malden
Trish Hansen, Sr., Mansfield
Meghan Rico, Sr., King Philip
Sarah Ropiak, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
Shannon Smith, Jr., Milford

STARTING NINE
Taylor Archer, Sr. C/3B, Milford
Patty Borges, Sr. SS, Coyle-Cassidy
Alex Burgess, Sr. OF, Chelmsford
Bri Chiusano, Sr. OF, Mansfield
Lexi Gifford, Sr. IF/OF, Natick
Olivia Godin, Sr. C, King Philip
Nicole Lundstrom, Jr. C, Dighton-Rehoboth
Christina Raso, Sr. SS, Burlington
Reilly Weiners, Jr. C, Agawam

"BEST OF THE REST"
Meg Carnase, Sr. P, King Philip
Katie Casey, Jr. P, Braintree
Katherine Clark, Sr. P, Coyle-Cassidy
Allie Colleran, Jr. SS, Concord-Carlisle
Meghan Colleran, Soph. P, North Attleborough
Stephanie Cornish, Sr. SS, Abington
Abby Curran, Sr. IF, Bishop Fenwick
Alexis DeBrosse, Jr. 2B, New Bedford
Audrey Dolloff, Sr. P, Bridgewater-Raynham
Maggie Hoffman, Jr. P, Avon
Kaleigh Finigan, Jr. C, St. Mary's (Lynn)
Natalie Leone, Jr. 2B, Ashland
Rachel Levine, Jr. CF, Milford
Abby Johnson, Sr. SS, Chelmsford
Galen Kerr, Jr. P, Concord-Carlisle
Jackie Kielty, Jr. P, Middleborough
Kayli Moniz, Sr. SS, Fairhaven
Breanna Monroe, Sr. OF, Shrewsbury
Shannon Orton, Sr. P, Case
Kaci Panarelli, Jr. C, Shrewsbury
Meghan Rich, Sr. P, Chelmsford
Julie LeClair, Sr. 3B, Coyle-Cassidy
Cayleigh McCarthy, Sr. 1B, King Philip
Madi Shaw, Soph. SS, Bridgewater-Raynham
Alyssa Siegmann, Sr. SS, King Philip

ESPN Boston's MIAA Softball All-State Team

July, 1, 2011
7/01/11
10:31
AM ET
STARTING ROTATION – FIRST TEAM
All-StateAli Maloof, Sr. P, Norwood

The senior captain led the Mustangs to the D1 South finals with a 12-1 record and 0.59 ERA with 162 strikeouts in 82 innings. The Southern New Hampshire commit also hit .493 out of the leadoff spot for Norwood.
All-StateEmma Mendoker, Sr. P, Amherst
The Gatorade Massachusetts Player of the Year finished her high school career with 1,002 strikeouts, including 300 this season. The East Carolina commit went 23-2 leading the Hurricanes the D1 state final while posting a 0.17 ERA. She also batted .461 with three home runs and 23 RBI as Amherst’s clean-up hitter.

All-StateMeghan Rico, Jr. P, King Philip
Rico went 21-0 with a miniscule ERA of 0.15 and allowed just 29 hits over 144 innings thrown with 313 strikeouts and 24 walks. The George Washington University commit allowed only seven runs all season, three of which were earned, and threw two perfect games. Rico also threw four shutouts in the postseason on the Warriors’ drive to their repeat D1 title performance.

All-StateSarah Ropiak, Jr. P, Acton-Boxborough
The two-time Dual County League All-Star team went 13-2, including 10 shutouts, with a 0.60 ERA. Ropiak is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and American Leadership Council.
All-StateShannon Smith, Soph. P, Milford
The 2010 Gatorade Player of the Year returned with a fine second season, going 21-2 for the D1 Central champion Scarlet Hawks. Smith posted a 0.94 ERA while striking out 296 in 164 innings. Smith also contributed to her own cause, hitting at a .357 clip with three home runs and 25 RBI.

STARTING NINE – FIRST TEAM
Katie Bumila, Sr. C, Coyle-Cassidy
The senior captain led a vaunted Warriors offense, hitting .536 with a home run and 22 RBI. The four-year starter was also entrusted by Coach Russell Hunt to call all the pitches behind the plate and was a three-year EAC All-Star. A star in the classroom as well, Bumila will attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute next year.

Megan Congro, Sr. Sr. 1B, Sandwich
The URI commit led the Atlantic Coast League with a robust .661 batting average with two home runs and 30 RBI.

All-StateLauren Duggan, Sr. 3B/P, Norwood
At third base, the UConn commit delivered the ball from third to first just about as quickly as you'll ever see. Duggan's cannon arm also helped her boast 1.13 ERA in the circle, splitting time with Ali Maloof. She also led the Bay State League in home runs with eight, while batting .415 with 33 RBI.

All-StateQuianna Diaz-Patterson, Sr.
The UMass-Amherst commit was perhaps the most feared lead-off hitter in the state with a tremendous first step out of the box. The captain and three-year starter hit .559 with eight home runs and 40 runs scored. Diaz-Patterson also stole 31 bases this year and held the distinction of never having been thrown out once on an attempted steal during her high school career.

Olivia Godin, Jr. C, King Philip
As much as Meghan Rico garnered the attention of the softball world this year, it was the Warriors' junior backstop who helped call the games for the hurler. The defensive stalwart also managed to put up a .400 on base percentage along with three home runs and 18 RBI. The Plainville resident has a verbal commitment to UMass-Amherst.

Meg Kelly, Sr. 2B, Reading
Kelly was a triple crown winner in the Middlesex League this season, batting .628 with five home runs and 35 RBI. She also struck out just three times all season. The URI commit was also a standout out on the Rockets' soccer and indoor track teams.

Anna Kelley, Sr. 3B, King Philip
Kelley's defense at the hot corner and her bat were main contributions to the Warriors' second straight D1 title. The UMass-Amherst commit batted .375 with a slugging percentage of .697. She also led KP in RBI with 33.

Brianna Martin, Sr. CF, Central Catholic
The three-year Merrimack Valley League All-Star was as strong in the field as she was at the plate. Martin didn't commit an error in her senior year while adding three outfield assists. Martin hit at a .549 clip while setting a Raiders program record for slugging percentage at .985.

Jenn Robillard, Sr. SS, King Philip
The Sacred Heart commit set the table for the Warriors from the lead-off spot with a .467 average and .533 on base percentage. The senior captain also stole 15 bases while contributing strong defensive play in the field.

BULLPEN – SECOND TEAM
Kiara Amos, Sr., Malden
Emily Berardi, Sr., Boston Latin
Noelle Christmas, Sr., Plymouth South
Audrey Dolloff, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
Meg Donegan, Sr., Central Catholic
Trish Hansen, Jr., Mansfield
Courtney Lanfranchi, Sr., Burlington
Bridget Lemire, Sr., St. Peter-Marian
Emily Mailloux, Sr., Turners Falls
Kelly Norton, Sr., Abington
Shannon Orton, Jr., Case
Megan Rich, Sr., Chelmsford

OFF THE BENCH – SECOND TEAM
Hannah Byrne, Sr. SS, Lynn Classical
Michelle Cooprider, Sr. P/OF, Hopkinton
Ellen Czuba, Sr. CF, Franklin
Alexis DeBrosse, So. 2B, New Bedford
Zoe Dillon-Davidson, Sr. C, Amherst
Amy Entel, Sr. P/OF, Somerset
Simone Frank, Sr. 3B, Amherst
Laura Kaminski, Sr. C, Amesbury
Nicole Lundstrom, So. C, Dighton-Rehoboth
Breanna Monroe, Jr. CF, Shrewsbury
Christina Raso, Jr. SS, Burlington
Reilly Weiners, So. C, Agawam

HEAD COACH OF THE YEAR
Dustin Belcher, Wahconah

Turners Falls captures fifth state softball crown

June, 18, 2011
6/18/11
5:41
PM ET
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.”

HOPKINTON MOVES ON
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
5/16/11
10:06
PM ET


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.”

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