Despite erasing a late four-run deficit, the Western Hills softball team fell to Feinstein 11-10 in the state championship game at Rhode Island College last week.
The Cobras trailed 10-6 in the sixth inning but would tie the score at 10-10 heading into the final round. Lyndsey Brandow, Maddy Selvato and Emily Bessette would all knock in runs before Sam Healy hit the game-tying single to make it 10-10.
However, Feinstein would go to work in the seventh as Samantha Bergantino pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top half, and Madison Bent hit the game-winning single to end Western Hills’ season and clinch the title.
“These girls battled till the end. They never let down, they hung in there right until the end. We’re a young team … I give credit to (Feinstein), they’re a tough team and we just came up a little bit short in the end. I’m real proud of this group, we’ll be right back at it next year,” said Western Hills coach Tom Lewandowski, who’s confidence in the team never wavered despite being down four runs late in the game. “We’ve been a good-hitting team all season long. We’ve always chipped away, we don’t give up. I knew we had a shot. We didn’t know which way the game was going to go but I thought we were going to have extra innings. It didn’t quite happen that way but I knew we had a shot.”
Brandow got things started by hitting a two-run home run in the first to give Western Hills a 2-0 lead. Feinstein responded in the bottom half of the inning when Bergantino hit a two-run triple to tie the score. The Falcons would add another run on a walk to make the score 3-2.
Feinstein continued to roll by adding four more runs to its lead in the second inning. Elise Saccoccio hit an RBI single while two runs were walked in and another scored on a passed ball to make it 7-2 Feinstein.
Western Hills’ Mia Richardson later got an RBI single followed by a two-run single by Carissa Giarrusso to cut into the lead and make it 7-5 in the third. The Cobras later scored on an error to make it 7-6 in the top of the fourth.
Feinstein’s Hannah Hawley, Haley Primrose and Bergantino all added RBI in the fifth to push the score to 10-6.
Brandow got the start in the circle for Western Hills, pitching 6 1/3 innings and racking up four strikeouts.
Lewandowski was proud of his team’s effort throughout the season and felt that unity on and off the field is what drove the Cobras.
“The chemistry on this team is huge. I’ve been doing this for a few years and this group is so much fun. You would try to be serious with them but you just couldn’t, they just didn’t have that makeup in them which is great. With this type of young group, they’ve always had fun regardless. Yea, they got a little emotional at the end but they know how to have fun and they know how to get the job done,” said Lewandowski.
Lewandowski expects the Cobras to be right back in the same spot next spring.
“It’s huge, we’re losing a couple of players but we’re positioned well with (our returners),” said Lewandowski. “We’ll be back at it for sure.”