Softball: Easthampton uses big inning to down Frontier

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer

Published: 03-31-2023 8:57 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Easthampton just needed some time to warm up.

The Eagles softball trailed Frontier Regional by two runs after three innings during Friday’s season opener. Cloudy skies and temperatures in the 40s necessitated jackets.

Then Lauren Morse started the downpour to open the top of the fifth inning. Easthampton’s third baseman walked, setting up an eight-run inning where the Eagles batted around. They put up 12 runs in a two-inning span and won 16-10.

“We’re kind of just like, ‘Alright, we’re ready.’ We know the speed. We know the pitcher, we know what to do now,” Morse said. “One person hits it, and then it’s a domino effect, we’re all hitting right after that.”

Sophia Faginski followed Morse’s walk with a single, then pitcher Rosie Follet reached on an error to bring Morse around. Christine Raymond singled to tie the game at 6-6.

Two batters later, Kayley Downie brought around the go-ahead run with a single. Easthampton added another run after a fielders choice then lost a runner in a pickle.

Jess Cloutier (two hits) then launched a three-run homer to give the Eagles breathing room. That brought up Morse again, who crushed her second home run of the day.

“When she hit it, I was like, ‘oh boy, I’m up.’ I need to build off that, we need an inning here,” Morse said. “I need to continue this inning.”

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Morse went 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs. She scored three runs.

“I really like playing here, I guess,” Morse sa id. “Last year I know I did really well here. So it’s kind of just like a mindset for me. You’ve got to do good here.”

That made it 12-6. Easthampton (1-0) added another four runs in the sixth. Abby McClaflin (four hits, two doubles, three RBIs) had an RBI double while Haley Routhier (two RBIs) brought in a run with a walk. They Eagles largely capitalized on fielding mistakes. They scored two runs on dropped third strikes.

“They responded pretty well then put the game away,” Easthampton coach Cory Robinson said.

It shocked Frontier after the Redhawks (0-1) built two early leads. They went up 3-1 with timely base running and an Ashley Taylor RBI single in the bottom of the first.

McClaflin brought Easthampton closer with an RBI double the next half inning followed by a Cloutier (two hits, three RBIs) RBI double that tied the game at 3. Morse’s first home run put the Eagles ahead 4-3 in the third.

“We’re a young team with experience. Both those things showed,” Frontier coach Garrett Deane said. “We knew this team’s a monster. We weren’t afraid.”

Frontier catcher Delaney Fifield cranked a home run to lead off the bottom of the third inning then hit the Griddy coming up the third base line for home. Two batters late, Skylar Steelte hit a solo shot to go ahead 5-4 followed by the requisite Griddy.

Liv Machon added an RBI single to put the Redhawks up 6-4.

“We didn’t lose anybody last year. It’s kind of the same environment,” Easthampton’s McClaflin said. “We still have a good bond from last year, so it was easy to pick ourselves back up.”

The Eagles scored the next 12 runs to take a 16-6 lead. Frontier prevented the game from ending in the sixth inning after Sophia Pinardi walked in a run, and Liv Machon slapped a two-run single through.

Frontier added one more run in the seventh when Jazzy Hayes crossed home after a first and their steal attempt. Easthampton threw to second, and Hayes came home.

“We’re gonna have to steal some of these games every once in a while just by changing the momentum,” Deane said.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.]]>