Softball: Hopkins Academy making strides despite 8-3 loss to Franklin Tech (PHOTOS)

Hopkins Academy pitcher Cassandra Dion (18) throws against Franklin Tech in the top of the third inning Friday in Hadley.

Hopkins Academy pitcher Cassandra Dion (18) throws against Franklin Tech in the top of the third inning Friday in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Hopkins Academy batter Cassie Dion (18) drives in a run with an RBI single against Franklin Tech in the bottom of the third inning Friday in Hadley.

Hopkins Academy batter Cassie Dion (18) drives in a run with an RBI single against Franklin Tech in the bottom of the third inning Friday in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Hopkins Academy batter Alayna Bailey (13) puts the ball in play to move runners over against Franklin Tech in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday in Hadley.

Hopkins Academy batter Alayna Bailey (13) puts the ball in play to move runners over against Franklin Tech in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Hopkins Academy pitcher Cassandra Dion (18) throws against Franklin Tech in the top of the seventh inning Friday in Hadley.

Hopkins Academy pitcher Cassandra Dion (18) throws against Franklin Tech in the top of the seventh inning Friday in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Hopkins Academy third baseman Cassidi Mushenski (9) throws to first for an out against Franklin Tech in the top of the seventh inning Friday in Hadley.

Hopkins Academy third baseman Cassidi Mushenski (9) throws to first for an out against Franklin Tech in the top of the seventh inning Friday in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Hopkins Academy pitcher Cassandra Dion (18) throws against Franklin Tech in the top of the third inning Friday in Hadley.

Hopkins Academy pitcher Cassandra Dion (18) throws against Franklin Tech in the top of the third inning Friday in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By CONNOR PIGNATELLO

Staff Writer

Published: 05-03-2024 8:08 PM

HADLEY – Hopkins Academy’s bats started out strong, but couldn’t keep up over the latter innings as Franklin Tech scored an 8-3 victory in a Franklin County League East matchup Friday afternoon.

The Golden Hawks (5-5) held even with the Eagles (10-1) through the first few frames, but only managed one baserunner against Franklin Tech pitcher Hannah Gilbert over the final four innings.

Golden Hawks coach Lindsey Lord said that Friday’s game was an improvement over their first matchup of the year with Franklin Tech on April 19, when they lost 7-1. That game was Hopkins Academy’s third of the season and first in an 11-day span following spring break. Friday’s contest was the Golden Hawks’ fourth game of the week. Lord said that consistency in games translated to more consistency for her team on the field.

“I think they did better,” Lord said. “Definitely, last time we played them we didn’t make nearly as much contact, so they put more of a fight up with contact, and defensively, I think our outfielders were fabulous today.”

Though Hopkins Academy’s new varsity softball field won’t be ready until after the season ends, the Golden Hawks have been playing on their JV field and are enjoying home games for the first time all season. They played their home opener on Monday (a 14-0 win over Athol) after six consecutive road games to start the season. Hopkins Academy is finally reaping the rewards of a backloaded home schedule – Friday’s game was the start of a six-game homestand that stretches until May 13.

“It’s a lot more relaxing,” Lord said. “The kids also enjoy it more…they like being at home, we get more fans at home – we actually get a lot of fans away too, a lot of the parents really make an effort to come out for the kids – but it’s a little different when you play at home. It always is.”

Franklin Tech began Friday afternoon’s game with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, but Hopkins Academy answered back with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the frame. Sophomore Lily Ellia and freshman Cassie Dion both scored on wild pitches.

Franklin Tech added two more in the top of the third, but Ellia and Dion combined again to get a run back. Ellia reached on an error and Dion singled her home. 

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From then on, it was all Franklin Tech. The Eagles scored three in the fourth on a triple from Lilianna Inman and a double from Jenna Petrowicz and then added another in the sixth to extend their lead to 8-3.

As Hopkins Academy heads into the back half of its season, Lord has been happy with her team’s performance so far. The roster is made up of half high-schoolers and half eighth-graders, with only two upperclassmen. Senior captain Cassidi Mushenski and junior captain Margaret Potter have been bringing the middle-schoolers up to speed well, Lord said.

“Being around other players that are really serious and deeply involved with it helps bring those other kids up too,” Lord said. “That’s what I’m seeing. Those kids being mentored by the older kids.”