(Lowell) Burlington (21-3) built up a 6-1 lead after four innings and hung on for dear life as Tewksbury (17-7) came at them late on Monday afternoon at UM Lowell‘s River View Field.
The Red Devils survived, 6-5, and are the Division 2 North champs. They will face D2 South champs Bishop Stang on Wednesday (6PM) at Martin Field in Lowell in the state semi-finals. The title game is scheduled for Saturday.
The Redmen looked done in trailing by four in the drizzle of the top of the seventh. However, a near-disastrous Burlington mix of walks (2), hits (2), and throwing errors (2) garnered three of the runs Tewksbury needed to even things.
Senior Meaghan McLaughlin stood on third representing the tying run with two outs but with the season on the line Burlington pitcher senior Kelly McCarthy got sophomore Jessica Silva to pop out to junior catcher Krista Toscano to record the final out.
Yes, it was exciting. Certainly more so with those in the UMass Lowell stands with a horse in the race.
Tewksbury (Merrimac Valley League) scored their first run in the third inning. Senior Tiffanie Marsh doubled home senior Sam LaFerriare who had tripled. Second baseman sophomore Michaela Mazure saved a second run later in the inning robbing senior Melissa Cordwell on a hot grounder.
Burlington (Middlesex League) answered with four runs batting around in their half of the third inning. Michaela Mazure hit a two-run double over Erin Walsh’s head in left. Sophomore Kaela Hersee and Kelly McCarthy also had RBI for the Red Devils. Burlington had runners on second and third as the inning ended with senior Amy Hunter popping out.
Tewksbury will not have fond memories of the two-run Burlington 4th. A throwing error (3B freshman Kirsten Dick) and a bad decision (1B Melissa Cordwell) opened the door for both runs. After junior Sheldon Kayla singled (she had three hits), senior Danielle Coveno’s bunt was thrown past first and ended up in the right field corner. Sheldon was able to score and Danielle reached third on the play. Next batter junior April Adams grounded to first as Danielle broke for the plate. I heard the Tewksbury coach yell to throw it home, and from where I was standing (next to the Tewksbury dugout), the chance of getting the runner was high. But the runner going to first was tagged out and the opportunity for a play at the plate was lost. Those two Burlington runs turned out to be awfully significant.
Tewksbury put three singles (junior Brooke Hardy, junior Shannon McLaughlin, Melissa Cordwell) together to get a run in their half of the fifth. Nice catch of a foul popup by 3B senior Haley Currie during that inning.
Then came the Tewksbury 7th. I briefly described the inning earlier. Here are the specifics. The inning started with a walk by Sam LaFerriere (Nora Butler pinchran) and a long double by Tiffanie Marsh to the base of the screen in center.
Next, Michaela Mazure caught Shannon McLaughlin’s liner but then, trying for a double play, threw the ball past third allowing Nora Butler to score T’s 3rd run. Tiffanie reached third on that play.
A ball-four wild pitch enabled Tiffanie Marsh to cross with T’s 4th run.
With Melissa Cordwell on first with the walk the Red Devils got Erin Walsh to pop to second for the second out.
Meaghan McLaughlin singled to right. Melissa Cordwell headed for third and RF Danielle Coveno made a throw to get her. The throw went past 3B Haley Currie allowing Melissa Cordwell to score (Run #5) and Meaghan McLaughlin to get to third.
That set the stage for the final-out popup to catcher Krista Toscano.
Burlington had eight hits off Shannon McLaughlin – three by Kayla Sheldon and two by Kaela Hersee.
Tewksbury had nine hits off Kelly McCarthy – two each by Tiffanie Marsh and Meaghan McLaughlin.
Burlington had four errors including two in the exciting 7th inning.
Tewksbury stranded nine runners while Burlington stranded six runners.
Burlington has now won ten of their last eleven games. The Red Devils lost to Wahconah in the state title game in 2011. Five years ago Burlington had a winless season.
Part of the Burlington success versus Tewksbury was in keeping Brooke Hardy under control. Brooke scored all three Redmen runs in their 3-1 semi-finals win over Reading. She had an inside-the-park homer in that game. Brooke has already committed to play for the D1 Jacksonville Dolphins in 2014.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)