Hot-hitting BMR wins eighth in a row

Hot-hitting BMR wins eighth in a row

Blackstone-Millville freshman Julie Kudirka, right, slides safely into third base with a fifth-inning triple as Douglas third baseman Katheryn Peloquin tries to tag Kudirka before she gets the ball. Kudirka drove in a run with her triple and added a two-run double in the seventh. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Softball team downs Clinton in playoff opener, advances to today’s quarterfinals

DOUGLAS, Mass. – Hitting seems to be contagious for the Blackstone-Millville Regional softball team this season, and thanks to their offense, the Chargers will be playing in today’s Central Mass. Division II quarterfinals.

On Monday night, the Chargers captured their playoff opener by pounding out a dozen hits and rallying for five runs in the fourth and sixth innings to defeat Clinton High, 12-5, and extend their win streak to eight games.

Five days earlier, the Chargers put together 14 hits in cruising to a 12-0 victory on the road over Douglas High in their Dual Valley Conference regular-season finale. During their eight-game win streak, the Chargers have produced 106 hits, and in their final seven regular-season games, they outscored their opponents, 89-8.

“I think if we play hard and error-free, we’ll do well (in the playoffs),” said BMR head coach Michelle Morin, whose ballclub, which is 9-2, kicked off its win streak after losing back-to-back games to DVC rivals Hopedale and Nipmuc. The Chargers will now face either 4th-seeded Tyngsboro or 13th-seeded Sutton in today’s quarterfinals.

The Chargers currently have a 15-player roster with no seniors and no junior varsity team. After last season was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team graduated a good chunk of seniors, so this year, BMR has a lot of juniors, as well as some 8th-graders.

The captains are juniors Amber Arcand, Arianna Morales, Haley Vadenais, and Madison Higgins, and Arcand, Morales, and freshman Victoria Miranda currently rank among the top 12 in batting average in Central Mass. Arcand is also the Chargers’ ace pitcher, and when she is not in the circle, her 8th-grade sister, Renee Arcand, who started at shortstop against Douglas, is on the mound.

During the first week of their preseason workouts, the Chargers were forced to stop practicing for 10 days, no thanks to COVID issues. When they returned to action, they got in a few more practices and then went right into their schedule and rolled to a 17-1 non-league victory over Notre Dame-Worcester in their opening game.

In last week’s victory over Douglas, the Chargers received a big game on the mound from Amber Arcand, who struck out 14 batters and allowed just one hit and one walk. Arcand struck out the first nine batters she faced, but walked her first batter in the bottom of the fourth, Douglas pitcher Madison McDermott. She was bunted over to second, but Arcand rebounded with a strikeout and a nice grab in right field by Higgins to end the threat.

Arcand carried her no-hit bid into the sixth, but with two outs and a runner on base because of a throwing error, Douglas batter Kaylie Ciccone slapped a bunt down the third-base line and beat out the throw to first, ending the no-hitter.

“Amber did well,” Morin said. “I felt like she did what she had to do. She controlled the game. She fights hard and she works hard, and so does everyone else when she’s on that mound. She’s got a goal, she knows what it is, and she does it.”

When Arcand lost her no-hit bid, she did so with her teammates supplying her with a comfortable 9-0 lead, thanks to five runs in the top of the fifth and four in the sixth.

“(McDermott) had us off our game,” Morin said. “But once we started coming around and saw her after a few innings, we put it together.”

Miranda led off the fifth with an infield hit to the shortstop that didn’t warrant a throw. She stole second and took third on a passed ball, and after Amber walked and also stole second to move into scoring position, Vadenais singled up the middle to drive in two runs.

The next batter, freshman Julie Kudirka, then drove in Vadenais by lining a triple off the fence in left, and Morales whacked a double to left-center to drive in Kudirka.

“I feel like once we start (hitting), it’s contagious and it just flows,” Morin said. “Everybody gets pumped and it keeps going.”

Offensively, Vadenais led the Chargers by reaching base in all five of her plate appearances, with two singles, a double, a walk, and an HBP, and scoring three times. Kudirka also had a two-run double to left-center in the seventh, and junior Olivia Fairley added two hits and three RBIs.

Monday’s win over 12th-seeded Clinton saw the 5th-seeded Chargers receive big games at the plate from Morales, who went 3-for-3, and Vadenis, who singled, homered, and drove in three runs. Arcand, who also had multiple hits, pitched a six-hitter.