Softball: Hopkins falls to Turners in Class D semis (PHOTOS)

Hopkins Academy third baseman Cassidi Mushenski throws out a Turners Falls runner  in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

Hopkins Academy third baseman Cassidi Mushenski throws out a Turners Falls runner in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hopkins Academy’s Cassie Dion delivers a pitch against top-seeded Turners Falls in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

Hopkins Academy’s Cassie Dion delivers a pitch against top-seeded Turners Falls in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hopkins Academy third baseman Cassidi Mushenski makes an out during the Golden Hawks’ loss to top-seeded Turners Falls in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls.

Hopkins Academy third baseman Cassidi Mushenski makes an out during the Golden Hawks’ loss to top-seeded Turners Falls in the Western Mass. Class D semifinal round on Friday night at Gary Mullins Field in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 05-24-2024 9:31 PM

TURNERS FALLS — While it wasn't the result coach Lindsey Lord and the Hopkins softball team were hoping for in its Western Mass. Class D semifinal contest against Turners Falls, the game showed how much the Golden Hawks have improved since the start of the season. 

Hopkins — with six eighth-graders on its roster — played its first game of the season against the Thunder back in April and suffered a 12-0 defeat. 

On Friday in the Class D semifinals, Turners advanced with a 5-0 victory, but the Golden Hawks kept it close throughout at Gary Mullins Field. 

“I’m very happy,” Lord said. “Our defense was much better. We could have found the ball a little more at the plate but overall, we put up a good fight. I’m happy to see how much we’ve improved from the first game of the year to now. We were run ruled that first game but now we kept it a 5-0 game against a solid team. I’m excited to see what we can do at states.”

It was a big second inning for the Thunder that spoiled the Golden Hawks' chances of reaching the Class D finals for the second year in a row. 

Anne Kolodziej opened the frame with a triple and Turners went on to score all five of its runs in the inning. 

Hopkins had chances to get back in the game in the third and fourth innings. 

Lily Ellia singled in the top of the third — the Golden Hawks’ first hit of the game — before Cassidi Muchenski and Cassie Dion walked to load the bases with two outs, but Liimatainen got Alayna Bailey to fly out to end the inning with no damage done. 

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Margaret Potter singled to open the fourth for Hopkins and Olivia Earle reached on a fielder’s choice to put a pair of runners on with one out, but Liimatainen struck out a pair to end the inning without a run coming across.

Liimatainen allowed one walk and no hits the rest of the way, as the junior finished the game with 14 strikeouts and just two hits allowed. Dion pitched all six innings for the Golden Hawks, striking out four.