SOMERSET, Mass. -- A victory over regional rival Durfee wasn’t the only reason for celebration in the town of Somerset on Thursday afternoon.
After the Raiders dispatched the Hilltoppers, 5-1, in their Division 1 South softball tournament game, Somerset head coach Sally Gamache was greeted with the news that the town’s drinking water ban had just been lifted. Health officials issued a warning nearly two days ago after a hydro-seeding chemical seeped into the water supply.
Gamache let out a loud “woo-hoo” in response.
The Raiders had won after falling behind in the first inning. The water was safe to drink.
What wasn’t there to love?
“It showed that the girls aren’t going to give up and get down,” Gamache said.
Durfee (11-10) came out swinging with Hilltoppers starting pitcher Amanda Cordeiro delivering an RBI single in the first.
However, Somerset (13-8) struck right back in the bottom half of the inning. Raiders starter Amy Entel led off with a triple to the left-center field fence before third baseman Marissa Shea belted an RBI single.
Somerset posted two-run innings in both the third and sixth to account for their offense.
The Raiders’ pitching staff took care of the rest in a collaborative effort. Entel turned in four innings of two-hit ball before Gamache made the switch to Meaghan Kay to start the fifth inning. The junior hurler silenced the Hilltopper bats, not allowing a hit and striking out five to slam the door shut.
“It didn’t make a difference, we didn’t hit the ball off of either one of them,” Durfee head coach Steve Winarski said. “I thought maybe it might have helped us out when they made the change, but it didn’t matter.”
Gamache went with a gut-feeling in making the pitching change.
“They’re both great pitchers, but they pitch differently,” Gamache said. “The thought process, for me, was to keep them off-balanced.”
Sophomore shortstop Kayla Allen provided the game-winning hit in the third, knocking in two runs on a double to left.
Somerset got a pair of RBI singles from Paige Gouveia and Emily Gabriel to close out scoring in the sixth.
The No. 15 seed Raiders advance to play second seed Norwood Saturday night at 7 p.m. with the undefeated Mustangs playing host.
“This is a really good hitting team,” Gamache said. “We peaked early in the season, in terms of hits per game, but then toward the middle of the season, that number went down. But hopefully, we’re on the upswing again. We’re seeing the ball well and we’re having good at-bats and making good decisions.”