D2 softball semi: Grafton 4, Wahconah 2

MONTAGUE, Mass. -- Despite coming into Friday's Division 2 state semifinal as defending state champions, Grafton knew it had its work cutout for them against a team just as lethal.

Wahconah Regional, the 2011 state champs, entered this contest bolstered by a 21 game win streak. The Warriors were the hottest team remaining in the tournament and was looking for a return trip to the finals. But the Indians were able to jump on Wahconah pitcher Becca Grunow for a pair of first inning runs and held on for a 4-2 triumph.

Grafton (23-2) will look to make it back-to-back titles when it meets Burlington in the final on Saturday, beginning at 4 p.m. at Rockwood Field.

Senior Tara Faford was the catalyst in this one for the Indians. The University of Bridgeport third baseman went 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBI.

"I went up to plate trying to feel as comfortable as I could," Faford said. "I just tried to go with whatever pitch [Grunow] gave me. I didn't know to much about her so I just went with it."

Grafton took the early 2-0 lead thanks to a throwing error by Warriors catcher Brianna Herforth that allowed one run to cross followed by a run-score single from Faford. The Indians would add a solo run in the third . Ali Page (2 hits) singled and moved to second on a SAC bunt. Faford stepped into the batter's box and blasted a double to center.

But Wahconah (21-3) showed some life in its half of the fourth. With two runners on and two out, Chloe Warren, a freshman, came through with a clutch two-run single to center to cut the deficit to 3-2.

But the Warriors would get no closer thanks to the pitching of junior Kendal Roy (CG, 8 hits, 8 Ks), who didn't allow another Wahconah batter to reach second base for the remainder of this outing.

"I didn't think we played very well defensively today," said Warriors coach Dustin Belcher. "Defense has been our anchor all year but today we made some crucial errors at some critical times. It was one of those days where nothing was going our way and Grafton got timely hits when they needed them."

Grafton added a little insurance in the fifth. Faford singled to right and took second on the play after right fielder Rachel Brennan bobbled the ball. Roy then lined a single up the middle plating Faford.

"Wahconah swings the bats," Indians coach John Gemme said. "When we jumped ahead 2-0 early I thought we would score a few more but we stranded a lot of people today (8 total). For two years now these girls stay nice and relaxed and don't let things bother them and somehow find ways to come out on top."