WMass softball tournament: Hampshire to defend title from top seed

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

@kylegrbwsk

Published: 05-31-2017 12:03 PM

GREENFIELD — For the fourth straight year, the Hampshire Regional softball team will enter the Western Massachusetts Division 2 tournament as the top seed.

“For the most part because of our strength of schedule we figured it would be that way,” Hampshire coach Brian McGan said.

The Raiders have won three straight sectional titles and are the two-time defending state champions.

Hampshire (15-4) went undefeated in Suburban League play, where it faces predominantly Division 1 teams.

“It’s just a number,” McGan said. “We’ve been a four (seed) before and come out pretty good.”

The Raiders are automatically in the semifinals, which are June 6 at UMass’ Sortino Field, along with No. 2 Southwick and No. 3 Wahconah. the Raiders will await either No. 4 Easthampton or No. 5 Sabis, who play Division 2’s only opening-round game Thursday at Nonotuck Park.

“I was guessing between three and four (for the seed). My guess was four,” Easthampton coach Homar Gomez said. “Hampshire, Southwick and Wahconah, they play more games against Division 1 teams and do better in the seeding.”

Easthampton (15-3) beat Sabis twice during the regular season en route to clinching the Bi-County West title.

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“We are pretty familiar with playing against them,” Gomez said. “I don’t feel relaxed that we’re playing them.”

Division 1

Northampton has one more home game and a clear path to UMass.

The fourth-seeded Blue Devils will host No. 5 Westfield in the quarterfinals June 5.

“The girls worked hard for that four,” Hamp coach Andy Pelis said. “They wanted another home game, and I’m happy we got one.”

Northampton (16-4) beat Westfield 8-4 at home when the teams met in the regular season.

“I know a bunch of the girls on the (Westfield) team, it’ll be a good competition,” Pelis said.

Minnechaug (20-0) earned the top seed with an undefeated regular season.

Division 3

Granby (10-9) won five of its last six games to qualify and earn a home game.

The No. 7 Rams will host No. 10 Smith Vocational on Friday.

Smith Voke (14-6) won the first girls sports league title in school history after topping the Tri-County this season.

The Vikings also were selected to participate in the small school state vocational tournament as the No. 2 seed. They beat Franklin Tech 16-12 on Tuesday at home.

Smith Voke erased a five-run deficit in the first inning and overcame a four-run hole in the fifth.

“There was a lot of heart in this game, absolutely no quit,” Vikings coach Nelson Lacey said.

Samantha Von Haugg led the Vikings with five hits, while Cassidy Colloruso added three.

“I’ve never seen this group of kids so excited,” Lacey said. “It’s the first time any girls team made it to the finals for any kind of state tournament at our school. They’re not ready to let go yet.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.

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