Smith-Porter, Turners Falls too strong for Case
WORCESTER - Turners Falls captured its second straight Division 3 state softball championship yesterday, defeating Case, 4-0. Junior pitcher Dakota Smith-Porter threw a one-hitter and belted a two-run double to help her team to victory and the school’s sixth title.
“It’s a great joy to finish it off like this, the last game of the season,’’ said Smith-Porter.
The Cardinals had an opportunity to score in the second but couldn’t push any runs across. Shannon Orton hit a leadoff double and pinch runner Samantha Gouveia advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Mary Vanlingen.
After Kadie Sullivan was hit by a pitch, Jenna Reposa hit a deep fly ball to left that was caught by Amber Caouette. Gouveia tagged but was out at home thanks to an outstanding throw by Caouette.
Orton, who has played all season with a torn ACL, gave up two hits, struck out 12 and walked four.
“Shannon had a great game,’’ said Case coach Norm Beauchemin. “She got herself in a little bit of trouble that one inning. But we have to be able to put numbers on the board, too. It can’t be all her. You can’t expect her to throw a shutout every game. She had a great season.’’
The Indians got to Orton in the fourth. Jenna Putala and Jenna Costa both walked before Smith-Porter went to the plate. With two strikes on her, Smith-Porter launched a double to center, scoring Putala and Costa to give Turners Falls a 2-0 lead.
“They got the two big hits that they needed,’’ said Beauchemin. “We didn’t get the hits we needed and they got the defensive play they needed.’’
Turners Falls added two in the sixth, taking away Case’s hopes. Costa walked after a lengthy at-bat. Case retired the next two batters to bring Tanisha Sanders to the plate. On an 0-2 pitch, Sanders rocketed a home run over the left field fence to put the game out of reach.
“I was thinking anything close you’ve got to swing,’’ said Sanders. “The first pitch I needed to watch to relax. The second one was a hit and run and that put a little more pressure on me and I don’t always do that well 0-2 in the hole. But I came through today. I’m proud of myself.’’
Turners Falls veteran coach Gary Mullins said Sanders’s hit made a huge difference.
“A two-run lead versus a four-run lead is a major difference in philosophy as far as defense goes,’’ Mullins said. “We could just relax and get force outs and not worry about getting the lead runners and that type of things. It was big time.’’