Softball: Willow Hicks, Angela Magyar power Gateway past Amherst 8-1


Staff Writer

Published: 05-07-2024 9:16 PM

AMHERST – Gateway second baseman Willow Hicks connected on an 0-2 pitch and drove it deep to left field.

She never saw the ball but figured Amherst left fielder Maggie Collins was going to catch it. Instead, the ball flew over Collins’ head and Hicks raced around the basepaths. 

Gateway head coach – and third base coach – Matt Bonenfant saw it immediately. He frantically waved his right arm around, yelling “go, go, go, let’s go kid, go, go.” Hicks rounded second and headed for third as Collins tracked the ball down, and then Hicks turned around third and sped toward home. As Amherst tried to get the relay throw in, Hicks touched home plate standing up for an inside-the-park home run.

“It’s really cool,” Hicks said. “I’ve only gotten dinker home runs in little league, but this was my first time in high school.”

Hicks’ homer started the scoring for Gateway in the first inning, and the Gators pounced on some fielding mistakes from Amherst over the latter innings to capture an 8-1 win on Tuesday evening.

Pitcher Angela Magyar pitched a complete game and struck out 14 for the Gators (5-6). On the other side, Sofia Holden also tossed seven innings and struck out 12. Rosalie Davis scored Amherst’s lone run with two outs in the seventh inning.

It was Gateway’s second win over Amherst (5-7) this season, following a 6-5 decision back on April 18 in Huntington. Bonenfant said he thought the Gators’ success with small ball led to the larger margin of victory this time around.

Aside from Hicks’ inside-the-parker, Gateway didn’t manage a baserunner over the first three innings. But in the top of the fourth, the visitors started bunting on Amherst and broke the game open.

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“We were struggling, we were chasing pitches,” Bonenfant said. “And we finally as a team decided we were going to play small ball and get on base and make some things happen.”

Sawyer Wilkinson singled to start the inning and Hicks and Kaitlyn Maynard loaded the based with no outs on expertly placed bunts. The Gators scored three times in the inning on miscues from the ‘Canes, including a pair of runs on one wild pitch.

In the fifth, Gateway stretched its lead to 8-0 thanks to a combination of errors, walks and fielder’s choices. The Gators scored four runs in the inning without a hit.

Both teams are wrapping up their regular seasons over the next two weeks. Amherst has five games remaining on its schedule and Gateway has three. Gateway is looking to return to the Western Mass. Class D tournament after missing out last season.

“Everyone played a solid game,” Bonenfant said. “Everyone came to play, from the top to the bottom of the bench, and they knew what this meant with a possible tournament berth on the line.”