MEDFORD — While it was a winnable game despite going up against a three-seed, the Woburn High softball team just made a few too many mistakes and handed over too many runs, which put a sudden and disappointing end to both its tournament run and its season as well.
The Tanners battled to the end, but just couldn’t capitalize on enough breaks as Medford did. The Lady Mustangs scored four runs in the first two innings, then added three runs in the fifth and sixth, to come away with a 7-4 victory over 14th-seeded Woburn, in a Division 1 North first round tournament game at Columbus Park on Saturday.
The Tanners had advanced to face Medford by virtue of their 9-2 win over Everett on Friday at Library Park just a day earlier.
On Saturday, the Lady Mustangs collected nine hits, as Carmen Diorio led their offense with two triples and a single to drive in four runs. Brenna and Rianne Forbes both added two hits. Emma McGlynn pitched the entire game for Medford and didn’t allow a run in five innings with five strikeouts.
The Tanners (14-8) did get seven hits. Bella Sgroi had two while Izzy Horton and Jill Vecchia both added two-run singles to account for Woburn’s four runs.
Lindsay Starr went the distance within the circle for Woburn and struck out four, but she walked three batters which proved to be her undoing.
“We battled and fought,” said Woburn coach Courtney Sigsbury. “But, we gave them two runs in the late innings on errors and walks before they got a couple of hits. So instead of being down one run we were down three. They gave us some chances as well but we couldn’t capitalize on them, while Medford took more advantage with the chances we gave them.”
The Tanners did get off to a good start by scoring twice in the top of the first inning. Bella Sgroi singled to left, Grace Sgroi reached on an error, and Horton walked to load the bases. Then Vecchia singled to left to drive in Bella and Grace Sgroi, and give Woburn a quick 2-0 lead.
But the Lady Mustangs fought back and matched those runs in the bottom of the inning when Brenna Forbes reached on an infield hit, stole second, and scored on a single to right by Diorio.
Then after MacKenzie Eisnor walked, Rianne Forbes singled to center to drive in Diorio, and tie the game at 2-2.
The Tanners had a chance to regain the lead in the top of the second inning. Kelsey Doherty doubled with one out and Julia Taylor reached on a bunt single and stole second. But Bella Sgroi hit into a fielder’s choice with Doherty thrown out at the plate. Then Sgroi was also thrown out trying to advance to second, which left Woburn with nothing to show for its threat.
With two outs in the home half of the inning, the Lady Mustangs got three straight hits to score twice and take the lead.
Mya Winslow singled to left, Brenna Forbes reached on an infield hit, and Diorio tripled to right to score Winslow and Forbes, and give Medford a 4-2 lead.
“There were two outs and nobody on base in that inning, and then they got three hits and scored two runs,” said Sigsbury. “Then in the middle innings we hit three line drives that were all caught. So we didn’t catch any breaks there. I thought Lindsay (Starr) pitched great for the most part, and even in the fifth inning with the bases loaded she ended it with a strikeout.”
After a scoreless third and fourth innings, the Tanners fought back to score twice in the top of the fifth.
Julia Taylor drew a walk with one out, and Bella Sgroi reached on an infield hit. Then after the runners moved into scoring position on a ground out, Horton laced a single to left to drive in Taylor and Sgroi, and tie the game at 4-4.
But Medford took advantage of some shaky fielding and pitching to score once in the bottom of the inning. Dawn Eisnor reached on an error with one out, and MacKenzie Eisnor and Rianne Forbes both drew walks to load the bases. Julia McDonough singled to left to bring pinch runner Carisa Andrews home, and give Medford a 5-4 lead.
“Izzy Horton had that huge hit in the fifth inning to tie the game, but we couldn’t score more runs in that inning to take the lead,” said Sigsbury. “Then Medford got three runs on just two hits in the next two innings, and that was kind of a momentum-changer right there. We still battled and fought, but we couldn’t get the big hit to score in the last two innings.”
The Tanners had a chance to at least tie it in the top of the sixth inning. With two outs Mikayla Loughlin doubled to left and Kelsey Doherty was hit by a pitch. But McGlynn bore down and got Julia Taylor to fly out to end the threat, and preserve Medford’s one-run lead.
The Lady Mustangs capitalized again on a fielding miscue to score twice on just one hit. Brenna Forbes reached on an error, then came around to score on a triple to right by Diorio, who herself came home on a sacrifice fly by Dawn Eisnor, and extend Medford’s lead to 7-4.
McGlynn then retired the side in order in the top of the seventh inning to seal the decision.
Despite the season-ending setback, Sigsbury kept things in perspective after the game. Her squad still exceeded expectations with 13 regular-season wins. It also came within a game of claiming at least a share of the division title, and even won a tournament game as well.
“This was supposed to have been a down year for us, and look what we did,” said Sigsbury. “We competed for the Liberty Division title, won a tournament game, and took a three-seed into the seventh inning. So I love this senior group and I couldn’t be more proud of them and what they did for this program. All year long players stepped up, and that was the character of this team.”
WOBURN 9, EVERETT 2
WOBURN — The ability to overcome an early deficit with clutch hitting and a fine pitching performance helped the Woburn High softball team take an early four-run lead, then keep adding to its edge in the late going, to start its tournament play on an upbeat note.
After spotting Everett two first-inning runs, it was all Woburn after that as the Tanners, the No. 14 seed, pulled away to a convincing 9-2 victory over 19th-seeded Everett, in a Division 1 North preliminary round tournament game at Library Park on Friday.
Izzy Horton led a 14-hit Woburn attack with three hits, while Bella Sgroi added a three-run homer and a run-scoring single. Three other players also had two hits.
Lindsay Starr overcame a shaky start to shut out Everett over the final six innings, striking out four along the way.
“We were down early when I think nerves got to us a little bit, and we gave up a few hits and two runs,” said Woburn coach Courtney Sigsbury. “But then once we realized it was just another game, we settled down and got those runs back in the bottom of the first inning. That was really big for us there to get right back in the game.”
After Everett got four hits and two runs in the first inning, Starr settled down and blanked the Crimson Tide on just two hits over the final six innings. Starr had a span from the third to fifth innings where she retired nine straight batters.
The Crimson Tide got off to a hot start when their first two batters got hits to score twice in the top of the first inning. Maddy Duraes led off with a single to center, then scored on a triple to left by Veronica Bento, who then came home on a ground out by Maddy Smith to give Everett a quick 2-0 lead.
But the Tanners fought right back and also scored twice in the bottom of the same frame. Julia Taylor led off with a walk, stole second, and scored on a base hit to left by Bella Sgroi. Then after moving to third on a throwing error and a ground out, Sgroi got caught in a run-down between third and home after a wild pitch, but scored on an error to tie the game at 2-2.
Then the Tanners exploded with two outs in the second inning to score four big runs. Keeli Queen singled to center, was sacrificed to second by Kelly Nett, and with two outs scored on a single to left by Kelsey Doherty. Then after Julia Taylor reached on an infield hit, Bella Sgroi belted a long three-run homer to left, to give Woburn a 6-2 lead.
“We exploded in the second inning with four big hits, and the last three of those hits came with two outs,” said Sigsbury. “Kelsey Doherty got a big run-scoring single, and Bella (Sgroi) hit that huge home run, which gave us a four-run lead and really broke it open for us.”
The Crimson Tide threatened to come right back in the top of the third inning when Smith reached on an infield hit and Kaylee Nearen drew a base on balls with one out. But Starr bore down and struck out Ariana Garay, and got Elizabeth Peach to hit into a fielder’s choice to end the threat, and escape the jam unscathed.
After loading the bases but failing to score in the bottom of the same frame, the Tanners added another run in the fourth inning. Julia Taylor led off with a walk, stole second, and scored on a double to left by Horton, to extend Woburn’s lead to 7-2.
“We had one inning (the third) when we left the bases loaded, and that really would have broke the game even more open,” said Sigsbury. “I felt we really hit the ball well today with eight of our starters getting at least one hit. Kelsey Doherty had two run-scoring hits from the nine-hole, and that’s the production we needed with Julia (Taylor) getting on base three times after her.”
Meanwhile, Starr just cruised by retiring the side in order in both the fourth and fifth innings, to preserve Woburn’s lead. Her run of getting nine straight batters out only ended when Garay reached on an error with one out in the top of the sixth frame, but Starr effectively got the next two batters out to prevent Everett from mounting a comeback.
“I felt Lindsay (Starr) started a little slowly, but got better as the game went on, as she settled down and did an unbelievable job pitching ahead in the count,” said Sigsbury. “We also played great defense behind her. Some of the catches Julia Taylor made in center field took away potential home runs, and Kelsey Doherty was just phenomenal today at shortstop.”
The Tanners added another run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Queen singled to left, was sacrificed to second by Nett, and scored on a base hit by Kelsey Doherty to extend Woburn’s lead to 8-2. The Tanners then added a final run in the sixth inning on a run-scoring single by Jill Vecchia to make it 9-2 and cap the game’s scoring.
After the game Sigsbury expressed her gratitude of her team’s ability to get contributions from almost everyone in the line-up, run the bases well, and overcoming so early nervousness to come back from an early deficit and take the lead for good.
“We hit up and down the order, especially the middle of our line-up,” said Sigsbury. “We also utilized our speed on the bases to make things happen. We came out nervous but settled down, and we competed against a good team and I’m so happy and proud of them.”