Softball: Chariho wins wild one to stay alive in D-I tournament; Baton drives in go-ahead runs

Softball: Chariho wins wild one to stay alive in D-I tournament; Baton drives in go-ahead runs

The Westerly Sun
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WARWICK — Two on, two outs. Seventh inning. Chariho High trailing by a run. Its softball season in jeopardy of ending after a squandered five-run lead.

The Chargers’ No. 6 hitter, Lacie Baton, was batting. The pressure was on.

“I had a pretty bad day at the plate,” the junior third baseman said of her thoughts at the time. “But I told myself I wasn’t going to be the last out.”

She wasn’t.

Baton, who went from a 1-and-2 count to working it full, lofted what appeared to be a harmless fly ball to shallow center field. But it fell in for a two-run single, and that proved to be the difference in the Chargers’ roller-coaster 7-6 victory over No. 2 Pilgrim in a Division I tournament elimination game Thursday afternoon.

“It wasn’t the best hit,” said Baton, who was 0 for 3 with a strikeout to that point. “But everything counts.”

Count the fifth-seeded Chargers (18-5) among the final four teams in the tournament. They play No. 4 Coventry in another elimination game on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Coventry. The Oakers (14-5) stayed alive Thursday with a 2-1 win over No. 6 Cranston West.

“I almost don’t even know what to say,” Chariho coach Dave Petrocelli said after the Chargers’ postgame talk.

Forgive Petrocelli, because his team led 5-0 through four innings before the Patriots (17-6) tied it up with a five-run fifth. And those five runs all scored with two outs.

Then, in the sixth, Pilgrim took a 7-6 lead on an RBI single from Cat Fallon, a junior commit to the University of Maine.

“They hit the ball. They put the ball in play,” Petrocelli said of the Patriots, who finished with six hits after having just one off Chariho starter Kate Powers until their big fifth inning. “We made a couple blunders, but give them credit for getting back in the game. That’s not easy.”

In Chariho’s seventh, Sarah Dias walked with one out, and Powers singled to set up Baton’s go-ahead hit.

“You’re down to one out; you’re one strike away,” Pilgrim coach Paul Kennedy said. “I moved my center fielder in — I’ll take the blame on it totally. I didn’t move her in enough. That’s on the coach. But that’s tough.”

Still, the Patriots threatened in the bottom of the seventh.

Mackenzie Hough led off by reaching on an error. After she was sacrificed to second, Sydni Bigelli lined out to Michaela Caparco in right. Caparco held Hough at second, but Hough later landed at third anyway on a wild pitch.

Powers then induced a comebacker to end the game.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team sticking together, because you go up 5-0 in a game, then go behind 6-5 and come back and win in the seventh inning? That shows they really want [to win] this thing,” Petrocelli said.

Powers (11-5), who was fighting a pins-and-needles feeling in her right leg (“a dead spot,” Petrocelli said), allowed five earned runs on six hits and eight walks (two intentional). She struck out nine. Powers was also 2 for 3 with an RBI double and one run scored.

Dias doubled and scored on Tuesday, when the game was rained out with Chariho leading 1-0 through 1 2/3 innings. Thursday, she lined a double to the base of the fence, 210 feet away, in left-center field. She finished 2 for 3 with an RBI and three runs scored.

Seven of Chariho’s 11 hits came off the 6-foot-1 Fallon, a hard-throwing right-hander. She allowed five runs (four earned), walked one and struck out six.

Caparco added two hits and scored a run, and Caitlin O’Leary had an RBI single for the Chargers.

When the game resumed Thursday, Fallon was intentionally walked to put runners at first and third with two outs. Jill Ricci followed with a liner to left into a swirling wind, but Lucie Willet, running backward, was able to track it down and make an outstanding off-balance grab.

“A huge catch,” Petrocelli said. “That could’ve been the ballgame.”


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