TAUNTON, Mass. – The trio is back.
After experimenting with hitting All-State infielder Madi Shaw in the cleanup spot, Bridgewater-Raynham softball coach Mike Carrozza went back to his regular lineup for the Trojans’ Division 1 South semi-final game with Hopkinton on Saturday. With Shaw back leading off, center fielder Stacey Korotsky hitting second and catcher Emily Kurkul following third, the Trojans’ “trio” was unstoppable.
Both Kurkul and Shaw hit home runs while beating the Hillers, 7-0, while punching their ticket to Monday’s sectional final against North Attleborough.
“When I told them I was hitting lead-off again, they were so fired up,” Shaw said of Korotsky and Kurkul. “I think even that gave them a little oomph today. It’s good to be back.”
Kurkul provided the biggest hit of the day with a three-run homer to left, her 12th home run on the season, breaking up a scoreless game in the third inning.
“I was just looking to move my runners and maybe get at least one [run],” said Kurkul, a junior Merrimack commit.
Shaw was the fulcrum. While going 3-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases, the Fordham commit set the table effectively, including during the third. Shaw led off with a base hit before Korotsky turned a sacrifice bunt attempt into a hit as well. Kurkul followed with the blast on a Alissa Karjel fastball.
“It was a good, balanced effort,” Carrozza said. “Emily [Kurkul]set the tone early with that blast to left and then Madi, [Shaw] but the offense, we had runners on base in just about every inning.”
And then there was B-R starter Sarah Dawson. The junior Pitt commit cruised through with four strikeouts while not surrendering a walk, as she continued her streak of scoreless postseason appearances this year.
“Sarah was dominant again in the circle, hitting her spots,” Carrozza said. “When your pitcher’s dominant like that, it frustrates the offense on the other side.”
Kurkul’s homer would have been enough, but the Trojans (22-1) continued adding to their lead with Shaw’s one-out blast in the fourth before striking for three more in the fifth. Kelsey Leuenberger scored on a wild pitch and Taylor Poulin added run-scoring single before Shaw picked up her second RBI of the game on her third hit of the day.
Return to full strength: Shaw was frustrated as she missed two weeks at the end of the regular season due to injury but is rounding into form in the postseason. But after a performance like Saturday’s, Shaw’s back to normal.
“It was excruciating sitting and watching,” Shaw said. “I’m feeling more myself though.”
While Shaw has been a key cog to the Trojans’ lineup throughout her four varsity seasons, the protection in the lineup offered by Kurkul has been a key to B-R’s success this season. Although Shaw hit fourth in the Trojans’ lineup earlier this postseason, her return to the leadoff spot was welcomed by her teammates, creating the opportunities for Kurkul to drive in runs.
“She’s a threat, everybody’s afraid of her,” Shaw said.