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Your Tewksbury Today

Redmen Lose A Heartbreaker In State Championship Game

Jun 18, 2016 08:54PM ● By Rick Spencer

Junior pitcher Adriana Favreau's 8-strikeout performance wasn't quite enough against Hampshire Regional.

The Tewksbury High girls softball team cam very close to pulling off the unthinkable Saturday afternoon, pushing defending champion Hampshire Regional to the brink before suffering a heart-breaking, 3-2 extra innings loss in the MIAA Division 2 state championship game at Worcester State University.
Hampshire Regional had entered the contest riding a string of six straight shutout victories. The Suburban League champions had danced through the early rounds of the 2016 state tournament beating their first three opponents by a combined score of 27-0. Hampshire had surrendered a total of five runs to its previous 23 opponents this year, and starting pitcher Alexis Ferris had thrown seven no-hitters this season.
But starting pitcher Adriana Favreau and the TMHS Lady Redmen  ignored the almost insurmountable odds, and came within a whisker of winning their first-ever state title, before an eighth-inning Hampshire rally forced Tewksbury to settle for the runner-up trophy.
'It's too bad," said an emotional TMHS head coach Leo "Doc" DiRocco afterward. "We had our chances. We should have put them away in the first three innings, but we left it out there and it came back to bite us. I feel bad for our kids. They're great kids and we gave it everything we had. We made a few mistakes at the wrong time, but we're resilient as hell, and we'll be back."
Favreau and the Redmen seemed to be in charge of the game from the get-go, as TMHS lead-off hitter Marissa Doherty opened the game with a double, took third on Kirsten Dick's single and scored on Favreau's sacrifice fly to center field.
Favreau made that 1-0 lead hold up or six innings with another dominant pitching performance. Favreau struck out eight Hampshire batters in the game, and held the normally-powerful Raiders to just four hits while walking only two.
The Redmen, however, squandered several chances to put the game away, leaving a runner at third in both the first and third innings, and having another runner thrown out at the plate.
Defensively, TMHS also suffered a handful of miscues, as two Hampshire hits, a sacrifice bunt and an infield error led to two runs that gave Hampshire a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Down to their final three outs, the Redmen responded with a courageous rally in the top of the seventh, as junior left fielder Erika Whynot reached on an error, stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from senior first baseman Nicole Petherbridge. Junior catcher Kayla Von Kahle came through with the clutch hit Tewksbury needed, laying down a perfect bunt to bring home Whynot with the tying run.
But just when it looked like TMHS was going to pull off the unthinkable, things came unraveled. A Tewksbury base-running error led to an inning-ended double play that sent the game into extra innings, and another fielding error in the bottom of the eighth put the eventual game winner on base before Hampshire outfielder Taylor Boutwell cracked a sharp RBI single to center that ended the game.
"It stinks because we were so close but also because we're not going to be playing with the three seniors (Nicole Petherbridge, Kirsten Dick and Nora Butler) again, because I loved playing with them so much," Favreau said afterward. "It was a great ride though, we played great. It just stinks today because we were so close. It was right there. We went for it, we just fell short a little bit."
Favreau, however, headlines a list of six junior starters who will return next year. Catcher Kayla Von Kahle, center fielder Marissa Doherty, right fielder Teagan Trant, left fielder Erika Whynot and second baseman Frankie Cocca will also be back, giving DiRocco much to look forward to in 2017.
"We've got six of them coming back and we'll pick up the pieces," DiRocco said. "This program never stops. We've been here (in the state tournament) 20 years in a row and we'll make it 21, that's for damn sure.
"It was a great ride for these kids," DiRocco added. "And I told them, you're going to go to a reunion in 10 years and you're going to have something to talk about."




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