WORCESTER – Trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, and two runners in scoring position, sophomore Alyssa Adams dug herself into a hole, falling behind in the count at 1-2.
She knew that she needed to come through and believed that she would.
The next pitch, a fastball waist high came in, and she turned on it, sending the ball down the left field line to score teammates Samantha Ryan and Abby Tower for a two-run walkoff double to give second-seeded Tewksbury a dramatic 8-7 come-from-behind win over No. 6 North Attleboro in the Div. 2 state semifinals at Worcester State’s Rockwood Field.
“When you know that your team needs you, you know that you just have to come through,” said Adams. “Every single time I got an at-bat and didn’t come through, my teammates picked me up so I knew it was my time to pick them up. I knew I had two strikes, and there were two outs, and the winning run was on second base, I knew this was my time and I was bringing them in. I’m doing it for the coaches, I’m doing it for the team and taking us to the state championship game.”
The win puts the Redmen (19-5) into the title game, to be played Friday or Saturday at UMass against the winner of Wednesday’s other semifinal game between league rival Billerica and Westfield. This will be Tewksbury’s second appearance in the state final. They lost in 2016.
“The 14 kids we have on this team are all incredible kids and players,” said coach Brittney Souza. “They deserve this more than any team I know because we don’t just rely on one player, we rely on all 14. We are a hard team to beat. We are the comeback kids. We just wanted Alyssa to put the ball in play. She hits for power and I was just thinking ‘give me a good swing’. I just wanted her to go down fighting and she did. She got some pop on her swing, and she delivered the game-winning hit.”
Tewksbury trailed 5-0, 6-2, 6-5 and came back each time. North Attleboro took the lead again in the top of the ninth as Kelley Colleran sliced a triple down the right field line. She then scored as she beat a throw home on a groundball to second off the bat of Zoey McDonough.
The Redmen’s top of the order came to the plate in the home half and Ryan reached on an infield error. She was sacrificed to second by Becca Harris. After a strikeout, Whitney Gigante got hit by a pitch. Both runners moved up a base on a passed ball. Tower then ran for Gigante and came home on the hit by Adams.
WORCESTER, MA – JUNE 14: Tewksbury’s Sydney Whalen tracks a fly ball for an out against North Attleboro June 14, 2022 in WORCESTER, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Chris Christo/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
The game started off slow offensively with neither team pushing a run across through the first two innings. In the top of the third, the Rocketeers batted around and scored five runs. With one out and the bases empty, Mandi Harewich got hit by a pitch. She stole second when Ally Levine struck out. After that came five straight singles including Colleran driving in Harewich with a hit to right-center and three batters later, Emma Hanwell drove in two with a solid hit to left. That was followed with another two-run single, this one off the bat of No. 7 hitter Ari McDavitt.
The Redmen answered the bell by batting around the order in the home half, scoring three and leaving the bases loaded. Sydney Whalen and Aislin Davis both reached on singles. After an out, Ryan fought off a few pitches before lacing a two-run single to right-center, which was followed by a hard shot single off the bat of Becca Harris to score Ryan. Two batters later Gigante reached on a single to the opposite field, and after an infield error, Avery Della Piana came up with the bases loaded and hit a hard ground ball to first base to end the inning.
Ahead 5-3, NA padded its lead in the top of the fourth, scoring a run on an RBI single by Colleran, making it 6-3. The Rocketeers ended up loading the bases with one out, but the threat ended on two strong defensive plays by Tewksbury shortstop Harris, who forced out a runner at home, before getting the third out by forcing the runner out at third.
Once again in the bottom of the fourth against Colleran who came on to pitch, the Redmen answered scoring two runs on two bloopers, both that should have been caught. With Whalen at third and one out, Ryan hit a flare to short left field, which fell in between two outfielders, which went for an RBI double. Harris followed with a high infield pop up which fell between the shortstop and second baseman, allowing Ryan to score and cut the deficit to 6-5.
Tewksbury tied the game up in the bottom of the sixth as Ryan belted a RBI double off the bottom of the left center field fence to score Davis, who started the rally with a one-out triple down the left field line.
Ryan was the winning pitcher, and she also went 3-for-5 at the plate, scoring three times and knocking in four.