Lady Chargers into Postseason with Fourth Straight Win

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photo by Vanessa Fournier
Craftsbury, Hazen and Peoples team members, (from left) Emily Hoffman, Serenity Leach, (in back) Haley Smith, Caira Ingalls, Gracie Crown and Sarah Collier, consult on the pitcher’s mound during action against Twinfield-Cabot-Danville Thursday at Danville. Craftsbury prevailed 15-12.

DANVILLE – Out of nowhere, the Craftsbury Academy (CA) softball team made it four straight wins to end the regular season last week with a come-from-behind thriller over Mountain League Rival Twinfield-Cabot-Danville (CCSU).

Peoples Academy’s (PA) Emily Hoffman belted a triple in the final frame to break open a tie ballgame and lead CA to a 15-12 road win last Thursday over CCSU. Hoffman’s blast plated Hazen’s Ginger Crown for the winning run, along with CA senior Haley Smith, before Hoffman scored herself for the final run of the game.

Savanah Boyce was strong in relief of Hazen’s Serenity Leach, earning the win in the circle, and securing a home playoff game for the Lady Chargers.

photo by Vanessa Fournier Austin Roos of Twinfield-Cabot-Danville safely slides into second base after Craftsbury’s Savannah Boyce attempts to stop the ball during play May 30 at Danville. Craftsbury won 15-12.

Down 5-0 after the first, and 6-2 after the second, CA chipped away to take their first lead in the fourth 10-8. CCSU freshman Austin Roos’ double in the fifth tied it for her third hit of the day.

Hoffman capped off a monster day at the plate (two doubles and a triple) with the game winner.

Crown led a balanced attack for CA with a two-for-four effort, Hazen senior Sarah Collier had a hit and a pair of walks, Leach walked twice and scored a run.

Boyce helped her own cause with a trio of walks and three runs.

Down three starters going into their most important game of the season, head coach Ashley Gravel cobbled together a reconfigured lineup in Wednesday’s night practice.

“We were without three key starters in Sadie Skorstad, Adelina Augsberger, and Kaylee Mason. They are huge for us offensively and defensively and we spent Wednesday night at practice, literally figuring out our game plan defensively. Executing a new game plan the next day just goes to show you what this group of girls are capable of. Gracie filled in admirably for Kaylee at first. Kyra Ingalls took over for Gracie at third and did a great job. Haley came in from the outfield to play second for the very first time. Savanah came in with composure to close out the game, and Sarah showed her senior leadership once again behind the plate with great communication. It was an incredible team win,” said Gravel.

photo by Vanessa Fournier Twinfield-Cabot-Danville players, (from left) Molly Paire, Carley Mancini, Chloe North, Finley Washburn and Sophi Mancini, watch from the dugout during action against Craftsbury in Danville May 30.

Hosting a playoff game at Dustan Field seemed improbable for Gravel’s squad after starting the season 0-7 with several lopsided losses. Meshing together a team and building chemistry from three different schools has been an arduous process, but Gravel saw incremental improvements in her team throughout the season despite the lack of results.

“This has been a different experience for me this year, building relationships with players from different schools. I’ve spent most of the season coaching and teaching and it has been incredibly enjoyable. These girls have really come together as one unit, worked their butts off, and it has been amazing to watch. It looked bleak at times throughout the season not getting the results we wanted, but watching these girls work hard to form bonds that have translated to better communication on the field has been fun to watch. They found their groove and went out and earned a home playoff game. We are excited for Tuesday!” said Gravel.

The Lady Chargers and CCSU match up for the third time this season on Tuesday in the first round of the Division IV playoffs. The winner advances to the quarterfinals against top seeded Blue Mountain on Friday.

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