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Dick's Walk-Off Single Puts Redmen In The North Sectional Finals

Jun 10, 2016 08:57PM ● By Rick Spencer

Tewksbury's Nora Butler is tagged out at the plate

Senior captain Kirsten Dick sent the Tewksbury High softball team back to the Division 2 North Sectional championship game for the second time in three years when she laced a two-out walk-off RBI single into left field in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Redmen a thrilling, 3-2 win over Burlington in an MIAA state tournament sectional semi-final game Friday afternoon at Lowell's Martin Field.
TMHS had watched a 2-0 lead evaporate when Burlington rallied back and scored twice in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 2-2.
But the Redmen responded with a flurry of base hits in the bottom of the seventh, eventually loading the bases for Dick, who came through in the clutch with a sharp single over the drawn-in infield to give Tewksbury it's 20th win of the season.
TMHS junior pitcher Adriana Favreau had stymied Burlington through six innings, spreading out three singles and refusing to allow a runner past second base prior to the seventh inning. But Burlington, which had run up a 14-6 regular season record in Middlesex League play, was down to its final out in the top of the seventh when freshman Christina Clark brought home two runs with a triple into the gap in left-center field, breaking the shut out and knotting the score at 2-2 with one swing of the bat.
Undaunted, the Redmen went right to work in the bottom of the seventh when senior captain Nicole Petherbridge got things started with a one-out single. Junior catcher Kayla Von Kahle followed with a single, and one out later junior center fielder Marissa Doherty beat out an infield hit to load the bases.
Dick stepped up with an opportunity to win it, and added to the drama by falling behind in the count before smashing a base hit that ignited a celebration and advanced the Redmen to the section title game.
"I was really nervous," admitted Dick afterward. "I've been having trouble hitting all season but I was like ‘I have to do this, I know I can do this. I’ve been here for four years,  I know I can do this.'
"I got two strikes on me and a change-up came and I just went with it."
Von Kahle had given Tewksbury a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning when she tripled into center field to drive in Petherbridge, who had singled. Von Kahle also scored on the play when the ball got away from the Burlington catcher.
The game appeared to be well in hand at that point, as Favreau retired 11-of-12 batters from the third through the sixth.
"She totally came to play today. She was awesome," said Von Kahle of Favreau. "She was all over the plate, inside and outside. She was unstoppable today."
Burlington even threatened to take the lead in the seventh, putting runners on first and third with two outs, but Favreau got the all-important third out on a pop fly, and the stage was set for Dick's heroics.
"I thought I made good pitches (in the seventh)," Favreau said. "But I knew my defense would help me out and I knew we'd come through. We've always been like that. We've always been a comeback team. We always keep battling through to the end, so I knew it wasn't going to be a problem for us."
The win was the third in five days for the Redmen, who beat Wakefield 3-2 in an opening-round game on Monday, then topped Danvers, 6-1, on Wednesday. Tewksbury will attempt to win its second north sectional title in three years when it plays the winner of last night's other semi-final game between Swampscott and Gloucester. That game is tentatively scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.
The Redmen, seeded first in Division 2 North, feature six juniors and three seniors in their line-up.
TMHS coach Leo "Doc" DiRocco likes his team's chances going forward.
"We've been here before," DiRocco said. "And these kids give you 110 percent all the time. Sometimes we don’t have the best team, but they will overachieve all the time."
"I think we have a good shot," agreed Von Kahle. "We're in it to win it."

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