Chargers walk off with playoff opener

Chargers walk off with playoff opener

Blackstone-Millville starting pitcher Amber Arcand picked up the win in last week’s Central Mass. Division II playoff opener against Tyngsborough by tossing a six-hitter that included a dozen strikeouts and two walks. At the plate, she reached base four times with a base hit and three walks and scored twice. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Vadenais’ RBI hit helps BMR softball team top Tyngsborough

BLACKSTONE – After rolling out to a 5-0 lead in its Central Mass. Division II playoff opener last Thursday, the Blackstone-Millville Regional softball team needed a run-scoring single from Haley Vadenais in the bottom of the seventh inning to walk off with a 6-5 victory over Tyngsborough High.

The 8th-seeded Chargers, who were making their first playoff appearance in three years, improved to 11-8 with their win, but saw their postseason run come to an end in last Saturday night’s quarterfinal round when they suffered a 9-0 loss to top-seeded Hudson High.

Nevertheless, the Chargers were the talk of the school last week after defeating the 9th-seeded Tigers in a thrilling game on their home field.

After scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning and once in the second, the Chargers’ bats went cold and the Tigers came back to tie the score on a grand slam homer by Emma Hogan with two outs in the top of the fifth and another run in the sixth.

“That’s what we spoke about,” BMR head coach Michelle Morin said. “We get a lead and we score runs, and then we’re kind of quiet. That’s happened over the past few games. I said (to the players), ‘You have to bring it here; this is where we dig deep, and this is where we pull it out and do what we have to do.’”

Tyngsborough relief pitcher Ella Beaulieu, who entered the game in the second inning, kept the Chargers off the board until the seventh.

Leading off was designated player Kylie Care, who worked a walk and was replaced on the basepaths by pinch runner Madison Higgins. Kailey Chapman then belted a double to center field that sent Higgins to third, and Vadenais stepped to the plate and drove a 1-2 pitch up the middle for her game-winning hit.

“I’m really proud of my girls,” Morin said. “They did what they had to do. We’ve been fighting all season, and when it came down to it, they did it.”

The Chargers set the tone in the first inning when winning pitcher Amber Arcand led off with a bunt hit down the third-base line, Arianna Morales followed with a single up the middle, and Care tripled over the center fielder’s head to drive in Arcand and Morales.

After Chapman went from an 0-2 count to working a walk, Vadenais grounded out to the shortstop, and that allowed Care to score BMR’s third run. Chapman then scored on a single from Brooke Cugini.

In the second, the Chargers made it a 5-0 game as Arcand led off with a walk, stole second, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on Care’s single to left.

While the Chargers were putting up runs, the Tigers were getting shut down by Arcand, who ended up pitching a six-hitter, striking out 12 batters and walking two. As her strikeouts piled up, her fans and fellow students became “K-Men,” adding more written-out Ks every time she had another strikeout and holding them up.

“She’s amazing,” Morin said about Arcand. “She’s a great worker and she works really hard; in practice or in a game, it’s 110 percent (with her).”

The Tigers made things interesting in the fifth with Hogan’s grand slam to right, and the tying run came in the sixth on a run-scoring triple to left from Beaulieu. But BMR regained its composure and walked off with the victory in the seventh.

Blackstone-Millville number three batter Kylie Care gets ready to sock a two-run triple to deep center field in the bottom of the first inning. Care also delivered a run-scoring single in the second and kicked off the Chargers’ seventh-inning rally by drawing a walk.