TAUNTON, Mass. – Sometimes when the game goes into extra innings, you have to take a chance and roll the dice. In the bottom of the twelfth, with two outs and a runner on second, Bridgewater-Raynham sophomore shortstop Madison Shaw stepped up to the plate. Shaw was already 4-for-5 and had a homerun.
North Attleboro head coach Bill Wallace met with his players and pitcher Megan Colleran at the mound, and with first base open, an intentional walk was an option. Instead, Colleran came out firing.
First pitch, a strike – looking.
“The first pitch to her was not the pitch we wanted,” Wallace said.
Second pitch, inside – but Shaw got a piece of it. It took a couple of hops towards first base as B-R’s Emily Kurkul took off from second. Then on the last bounce, it hopped right up into Jackie Delbonis’ midsection.
“She just hit it in a bad spot. It was too far for the first baseman to get to [the base],” Wallace added.
As Shaw scampered safely to first, Kurkul rounded third and headed for home, beating the throw to help the Trojans walk off in the 12th inning, 4-3 over North Attleboro, and into the D1 South Finals on Sunday.
“It was just one of those plays,” Wallace said.
Bridgewater-Raynham was able to respond immediately in the bottom half of the first. Shaw used her first at-bat to tie the game with a deep homerun to left center.
The Red Rocketeers came back in the top of the second, though. Marissa Gifford reached on an infield single and then advanced to second when Erin Mullaney drew the only walk thrown to North all day.
The lead again didn’t last long, as the Trojans tied it up again in the bottom of the third. B-R’s Chelsea Correia blooped one into right, scoring Shaw. In the next at bat, Audrey Dolloff’s line drive triple into right scored Correira from first.
After the teams traded jabs the first three innings, neither team was able to score for eight innings.
“When you look back at this game, you’re going to see the first three innings and see we should have scored more runs,” Wallace said. “We had the bases loaded and we got one run. Both pitchers got better as the game went on.”
Colleran struck out nine throughout the game, and multiple times battled back from 3-0 counts to get the strikeout.
“One thing that Megan’s evolved this year is she’s not just throwing to throw to a strike zone,” Wallace added. “She’s trying to hit corners. She’s going to do deeper in the count sometimes. She’s a big strong girl and she can get through that.”
The Red Rocketeers lose Gretchen Deforest, Veronica Coyle, Kim Hallahan, Mullaney, Johnson, and Carracciolo to graduation.
Although North Attleboro comes up just short of the D1 South Finals, they are a young team that is bring back a strong core, including Colleran.
“This was awesome,” Wallace said of the season. “We were 11-9 last year. We thought we’d be a tournament team so we loaded our schedule. This is what we were playing for, to get to this spot here. We have a good nucleus coming back. When you get a pitcher and catcher coming back at that caliber, you’re pretty fortunate.”