THOMASTON >> Thomaston’s softball team (17-2) clinched at least part of a third straight Berkshire League championship in a 7-4 win over a feisty young Nonnewaug team (14-5) Friday afternoon at Thomaston High School.
“We don’t want anything less,” said senior pitcher Morgan Sanson.
Sanson and several other Golden Bear seniors have won 16 titles in their high school careers, including championships in basketball and field hockey.
“It was senior day,” Sanson said. “You’ve got to step it up in your last senior day.”
“They just put the ball in play and play hard every game,” said Nonnewaug Coach Kat Parlato.
The Chiefs, starting three freshmen, two sophomores and two juniors, may step into the space Thomaston’s seniors leave behind.
Meanwhile, both teams overcame mental and physical errors Friday.
In the top of the first, an easy Chiefs pop-up fell to the ground when two infielders collided.
In the bottom of the inning, three Nonnewaug errors contributed to hits by Golden Bears Gabrielle Hurlbert (2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs); Julia Romaniello (2-for-4, RBI) and Katie Everett for two Thomaston runs.
Nevertheless, both teams passed the adversity test.
Despite Nonnewaug hits by Allison Green in the second and Heather Abramovich (2-for-4) in the third, Sanson (7 innings, 4 earned runs, 8 hits, 15 strikeouts, 1 hit batter) had her best stuff when she needed it.
“She hit her spots,” said Thomaston Coach Kelly Finley. “When she gets in the groove, she can really bring it.”
The groove was essential in the top of the fourth.
Hits by Chiefs Nicole Mercer and Hannah Molin, along with a Thomaston error, loaded the bases, no outs.
Sanson struck out the next three batters.
In the bottom of the inning, Samantha Laone started a two-out Thomaston mini-rally with a hit to right. Senior Sam Brostek (2-for-3, 2 RBI, run) sent her home with a single down the first base line.
“I just knew it was going to be senior night and I had to get up there and hit the ball,” said Brostek.
“We’ve been working on her swing,” said Coach Finley. “She did it right today.”
So did a lot of Nonnewaug’s youth.
Trailing 3-0 with two outs in the top of the fifth inning, freshman Arianna Laracuente smashed a triple to deep center field.
In a bizarre call, the plate umpire failed to grant time out to Nonnewaug’s next batter, freshman Nicole Mercer, when she raised her hand.
Thinking time was out, Sanson stopped mid-motion. The umpire called a balk. Laracuente came home from third.
Mercer launched a bomb into deep left field for a home run.
Suddenly, the Thomaston lead was 3-2; a ball game was on.
The Bears upped the ante to 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth on a Nonnewaug error and an RBI single by Romaniello.
Next inning, they went to work in earnest.
Nonnewaug senior Victoria Heavens (6 innings, 5 earned runs, 10 hits, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk) struck out the first Thomaston batter.
Danielle Genest singled down the third base line.
With two outs after Laone sacrificed her to second, Brostek (RBI), Nicole Schaefer and Hurlbert (2 RBI) rang up three runs on three straight hits.
A 7-2 deficit didn’t scare the Chiefs.
Leadoff Marisa Valente was hit by a pitch. Sophomore Malya Wendel singled sharply to right. A double steal put them on second and third.
Abramovich lined a two-run double down the third base line.
The bell rang its call for Sanson one more time.
She answered it.
Another three straight strikeouts put another championship in the bank.
“We had a great inning coming back,” said Chiefs Coach Parlato.
“(The Bears) deserve everything they can get,” said Coach Finley.
“It was an eye-opener of how we have to play,” said Sanson, who’s been to the top of Class S and wants to return before she leaves.
Before then, the Bears have one more regular-season game against Gilbert next Wednesday. Second-place Wamogo has two league losses to Thomaston’s one (to Wamogo).
A Thomaston win next Wednesday earns the championship outright.
Thomaston 7, Nonnewaug 4
At Thomaston High School
Nonnewaug 000 020 2 – 4 8 4
Thomaston 200 113 X – 7 10 3
WP: Morgan Sanson. LP: Victoria Heavens. HR: N – Nicole Mercer. 3B: N – Arianna Laracuente. 2B: N – Heather Abramovich. Records: Nonnewaug 14-5; Thomaston 17-2.