Huskies lose to Burrillville/North Smithfield, 6-3, in D-III championship

Stephenson smashes two doubles and drives in two, in the loss

Photos and story by Richard W. Dionne, Jr. 
Posted 6/25/21

The Mt. Hope softball team fell to one seeded Burrillville/North Smithfield, 6-3, in the Division III state championship, at RIC on Thursday night. 

“We played an amazing game against …

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Huskies lose to Burrillville/North Smithfield, 6-3, in D-III championship

Stephenson smashes two doubles and drives in two, in the loss

Posted

The Mt. Hope softball team fell to one seeded Burrillville/North Smithfield, 6-3, in the Division III state championship, at RIC on Thursday night. 

“We played an amazing game against this team,” said senior shortstop Izzy Savinon. “We got a lot of hits and put up a great fight and you really can’t be mad about it.”

“We have a great, hard working, team,” said Mt. Hope head coach Craig Giarrusso. “I hope they realize what they accomplished this year.”

One night after beating West Warwick in the semifinals, 8-1, the upstart Huskies and sophomore pitcher, Reily Amaral, were at it again. This time on a grander scale against top seeded Burrilville/North Smithfield Co-op, with top ranked pitcher Julianna Colbert, who struck out 18, against the Huskies, in a, 5-0, victory, on June 3. 

This time the Huskies came out swinging.

Freshman Lead off hitter Sydney Crowell smacked Colbert’s first pitch into left field to reach first base with a single. Junior Jayda Sylvia hit a grounder to Broncos shortstop Kaitlyn Gould. She underhanded a throw to second baseman Abby Fortin, who attempted to turn a double play, but Sylvia beat the throw to first. Amaral with one on and one out, struck out swinging. Huskies cleanup hitter Grace Stephenson stepped to the plate with two outs and Sylvia on first base. Stephenson battled Colbert and walloped the ball into the left centerfield gap. The ball bounded and slammed into the wall as Sylvia ran the bases and came home from first base to give the Huskies a, 1-0, lead. The catcher slowed into second base for a stand up double.

“We had so much momentum coming into this game. We knew that we could hit this pitcher,” said Stephenson, who went 3 for 3, with two doubles and two RBI, during the game. “We worked hard in practice and we left it out on the field tonight.”  

 Senior first baseman Maddie Razzino also smashed a two out hit into left field. Stephenson rounded third, smashed into the Broncos catcher as the throw came in and stepped on home plate to give the Huskies a, 2-0, lead. 

Colbert, visually rattled, hit senior second baseman Gabby Hollands to put runners on first and second base for junior Logan Levesque. Colbert quickly regained her composure and struck out the Huskies right fielder to retire the side.

Bottom of the first 

The Broncos quickly got a run back in the bottom of the first. Senior lead off hitter, Tessa LaBarre doubled and scored on a bomb to center field by sophomore first baseman Sam Ledger to cut the Mt. Hope lead to, 2-1. 

Amaral got Broncos five hitter, Jade Guertin to hit a fly ball to Levesque in right field. She caught it and quickly threw the ball into the pitcher as Ledger reached third base. Amaral struck out Gould to strand Ledger and end the inning. 

“Having Reily helped us out so much,” Stepheson said. “I want to thank her for playing her heart out every single game. She’s been amazing for our team.”

Amaral and the stout Huskies defense held the Broncos at bay in the second inning. 

“I’m really proud of our team,” said Amaral. “I love all of the girls. We worked together and fed off each other. It was just an amazing game.”  

Broncos big the third

The Broncos big inning came in the bottom of the third. Amaral (5 strikeouts, 2 walks, 6 hits, 6 runs) got LaBarre to ground out for the first out of the inning. She then walked Fortin. Coach Giarrusso decided to put Ledger, who homered twice during their regular season game, on first base. Amaral got Guertin to fly out to Levesque in right field for the second out. Both runners advanced to second and third on the play. 

With two outs, Gould hit a soft fly ball to shallow right field. Levesque charged in, slid and appeared to catch the ball, but, it grazed her glove and the ball rolled past her. Gould landed on second base. Ledger and Fortin scored on the play, to give the Broncos a, 3-2, lead. 

Colbert smacked a line drive that bounced once and hit the left centerfield wall for a double. Sylvia quickly retrieved it, but Gould scored to put the Broncos up, 4-2. 

Kaitlynne McPherson also singled to center field. Colbert scored from second base, to give the Broncos a, 5-2, lead. 

Amaral bared down and finally got Mallory Bertrand to pop up to Gabby Hollands at second base, to end the inning.

Offensive chances

Senior shortstop Izzy Savinon hit a one out double in the second, but the Broncos pitcher stranded her on base, getting Crowell to hit a groundout and Sylvia, to pop up, and end the inning. 

Stephenson singled with one out in the third. Razzino hit a sharp grounder to Broncos second baseman, Fortin, playing deep on the right side, scooped it up and threw to Gould get Stephenson at second base. Gould stepped off the bag and fired to Ledger at first base, to get Razzino, for an inning ending double play. In the fourth, Levesque hit a one out single. White bunted Levesque over to second base. Savinon fouled off several Colbert pitches before striking out, to end the inning. 

Huskies battle for a run in the fifth

 The upstart Huskies didn’t give up. Colbert had finally gotten warmed up and was throwing heat. The Huskies battled and got one back in the top of the fifth. Sylvia hit a one out single to left field. Colbert struck out Amaral for the second out. Stephenson smashed another bomb to the gap that sent Broncos center fielder Sadie Crozier running to the fence. Sylvia came around to score from first to cut the Broncos lead, 5-3 and Stephenson ended up on second base for her second double of the night. Colbert bared down and struck out Razzino to strand Stephenson on second and end the inning. 

Ledger hits a bomb

Coach Giarrusso decided to let Amaral pitch to Ledger in the bottom of the fifth. The big first baseman bashed an Amaral fastball to deep right field. Levesque ran back and leaped up, but the ball flew over her glove and hit the fence. Ledger quickly rounded the bases and ended up on third base, for a triple. 

Amaral determined to strand Ledger, struck out Guertin for the first out. Gould squared around to bunt. The ball trickled back to Amaral. She quickly looked Ledger back and fired high to Hollands covering first base. The ball caromed off her glove into foul territory. Ledger scored and Gould ended up on second base. 

Colbert blooped a single over Savinon at shortstop. Gould running on the hit, rounded third and headed home. Huskies left fielder Elsa White ran in grabbed the ball with her bare left hand and fired a strike to Stephenson at home plate. The Huskies catcher caught the ball and blocking the plate, tagged Gould out, for the second out of the inning. McPherson popped to Hollands at second base to end the inning.

“Grace has had an awesome year,” said Coach Giarrusso. “She is a rock for the team. She’s one of the best catcher’s in the state.”

Top of the sixth

Hollands drew a walk to lead off the sixth. Levesque hit a grounder and the Broncos got Hollands out at second base for the first out. Colbert did the rest, mixing her fast ball and change up, struck out both White and Savinon, to end the inning. 

Amaral and the Huskies got the Broncos in order in the bottom of the sixth. Bertrand hit a sharp grounder to Savinon at shortstop. The senior gloved it and threw to Razzino for the first out of the inning. Amaral struck out Crozier and got LaBarre to pop out to end the inning.

Teary seventh  

Colbert got the Huskies in order in the top of the seventh, striking out Amaral for the last out of the game. As the Broncos celebrated on the infield, a teary Amaral walked back to the Huskies dug out and Stephenson, Razzino and the team gave her a big hug.

“I couldn’t be happier with where we started and where we finished,” said Coach Giarrusso. “The outcome was’t quite what we wanted, but, I couldn’t be happier with this group of kids. We have six seniors on the team. Three starters. It will be tough to fill those holes, but we are going to do it and we expect to back here again next year.” 

 

 

 

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