|Lear RBI Lifts Thunder in Ninth at Regional|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
04:19PM / Friday, July 07, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Eight was not enough to silence the Thunder on Friday.
The Greylock Thunder 16-and-under Babe Ruth Softball team bounced back from two demoralizing eight-run innings to win two games over the Berkshire Force in the New England Regionals at the Doyle Complex.
In the morning, the Adams-based Thunder rallied after falling behind, 8-1, in the first inning, to earn a 9-8 to wrap up pool play in the four-team tournament.
In the afternoon, the Thunder squandered an 8-0 lead when the Force rallied for eight in the top of the seventh. Then Greylock gutted out a 9-8 win on Abby Lear's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to advance in the winners' bracket of the double-elimination tournament.
The winning pitcher in Greylock's second win of the day was Kalley Vanuni, a rising junior at McCann Tech who does not even pitch for her high school team. After reliever Logan Stansfield gave up a two-out walk in the top of the eighth, Vanuni went from left field to the circle and retired four of the six batters she faced without allowing a hit.
"This is something that she's done on the side," Greylock coach Louis Beveraggi said. "And she came in and held it down for us, and we played good 'D.' And finally our bats came alive."
Greylock, which had not scored since pushing its lead to 8-0 in the fifth, got a leadoff triple to right field from Gabby Vincent to start the ninth. Lear, who was brilliant in the circle for the first six innings before allowing three unearned runs in the seventh, drove home Vincent with a single to left.
"They were starting to flatfoot themselves and staying quiet while the other team started their uprising," Beveraggi said. "Just that one hit by Gabby turned it around for us. The game momentum turned our way."
Greylock siezed the momentum early with a three-run first inning. Vincent's first triple of the game set the table for that rally.
In the third, a leadoff double from Lear turned into a run on Anna Dix's RBI single to make it 4-0.
Vincent reached on an error and ended up scoring on a passed ball in the fourth.
And the Thunder scored three in the fifth thanks to a couple more Berkshire errors and an RBI single by Lauren Faucher.
The Force cashed in on Greylock miscues in the the seventh inning rally that knocked Lear out of the circle. Stansfield gave up five more unearned runs before the the rally ended in a tie score.
The big hit was a two-out single by Emma Parkington to score runs number seven and eight and keep the Force alive.
The day started on a good note for the Force. Berkshire was able to take advantage of Stansfield's problems gripping the ball in a persistent drizzle to score eight runs in the bottom of the first.
An error, five walks and five wild pitches helped put the Thunder in an 8-1 hole.
But Greylock chipped away.
Dix tripled home a run in the four-run third that got Greylock within three runs. And the Thunder struck for four more in the fourth to take the lead for good.
Boucher and MacKenzie McGuire each drove in runs in the go-ahead rally.
Berkshire threatened in the sixth and seventh to tie the game.
In the sixth, the Force had bases loaded with two out before Stansfield got a comebacker to end the inning.
In the seventh, Berkshire loaded the bases with two out against Lear, but she got a called third strike to end the game.
Both teams will continue the tournament on Saturday. Berkshire will face an elimination game while the Thunder will be one game away from the championship round.