Third-seeded Brattleboro pushed across three unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning to finally break up a scoreless game as the Colonels bounced No. 2 Colchester from the Division I high school softball tournament with a 3-0 semifinal win Wednesday.
The Colonels’ Kayla Wood and the Lakers’ Emi Eakin spent six innings frustrating all batters, yielding five hits and no walks between them over that span.
Then came the Brattleboro seventh. A leadoff two-base error, a sacrifice, a walk, a bloop single off a glove, and a ground single later, the Colonels had the three runs that carried them into a championship game unlikely to be played before next week.
“Zero-zero through six, there’s nothing more you can ask for,” said Colchester coach Alicia Nelson. “We didn’t hit the ball today.
“She threw great,” said Nelson of Eakin, who yielded four hits and one walk while striking out seven. “It was the errors that really hurt us at the end there.
“Other than that, we played solid defense, but when you have a couple errors and they score a couple runs, what do you do?”
Haley Struthers began the Brattleboro seventh by reaching second on a overthrow of her grounder to short. Pinch-runner Alex Derosia took third on Wood’s sacrifice. After Lou Terwilliger walked, Rissa Smith lofted a pop to left-center that glanced off the diving outfielder’s glove for a run-scoring single and leaving runners at second and third. Each scored on Alyssa Bezanson’s single through the left side.
Wood then wrapped up her three-hit, eight-strikeout shutout by inducing a grounder and two strikeouts against her only walk in the bottom of the inning.
“This is best team that’s been here in 20 years,” said Nelson of the Lakers. “We did all we could. We were prepared. We came in thinking positively but we just didn’t come out on top. I really feel like we did all we could.”
Brattleboro coach Kelly Markol credited both teams for playing well. “At this time, when you get to the semis and finals, it takes a mistake … and if the other team can capitalize on the mistake, then they’re in pretty good shape,” she said, adding, “and then we have a kid come up and hit a single with two runners on. Huge. Huge.”
Markol said she did not believe Wood threw as hard Wednesday as in earlier games, adding, “but she threw the ball well.”
The loss completed a 16-3 season for Colchester. Meranda Turner, Kendell Grammo and Rachel Cleary accounted for the Lakers’ hits.
Brattleboro (15-2-1) must await the results of two games before learning its championship game opponents. No. 5 Missisquoi is scheduled to travel to No. 4 Mount Anthony for a quarterfinal on Thursday, though predicted rain could force another postponement until Saturday. The winner of that game will face top-seeded Essex in the other semifinal with the Colonels eventually playing that winner for the title.