Then a four-run fourth inning, a six-run fifth inning, and a stellar performance by Shrewsbury pitcher Elise Lacasse spelled the end for the Crusaders’ season in an 11-0 defeat at Shrewsbury High School.
Lacasse pitched a complete-game four-hitter and struck out ten, and at one point retired thirteen consecutive batters. Her only hiccups came in the first, when she allowed a hit and a walk with two outs; and in the sixth, when she allowed the first two batters to reach, before inducing a double play on a popped-up sacrifice bunt attempt.
“She kept us off balance today,” Crusaders head coach Derek Asadoorian said. “We couldn’t put anything together.”
The Colonials got their first run in the third when Molly Dickinson scored on an error off a sacrifice bunt by Meg O’Keefe. G-D pitcher Alyssa Ash would make it through the rest of the inning unscathed, but when the fourth and fifth innings came along, things went downhill for the Crusaders.
The Colonials scored four runs on five hits in the fourth and six runs on seven hits in the fifth, and could have scored more, but left the bases loaded each time. Shortstop Amber Melideo’s three-run double in the sixth was the deathblow, putting the Colonials up 9-0.
“We didn’t have it today,” Asadoorian said. “We didn’t have the bats, we didn’t have the pitching, we made mistakes in the field that gave them extra outs. We didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing today, and that’s a disappointment.”
Celia Antonelllis, Erin Olson, Ariana Cho, and Annika Liljegren each had one hit for the Crusaders (10-11). Liljegren chalked up a stolen base.
Asadoorian was proud of his team’s accomplishments this season, including winning their final five games of the regular season to qualify for the tournament.
“I think these girls had a great season,” he said. “We had a lot of adversity on this team from the very beginning, and to win five games to get here is something we can hang our hat on … I told them that they fulfilled their potential.”
Next season will be a challenge for the Crusaders, who graduated five seniors (Antonellis, Ash, Cho, Liljegren, and Olson) and will have no seniors on next year’s team.
“They’re all quality softball players in their own right,” Asadoorian said of his seniors. “But it’s the person, the kid that I’m going to miss. The leadership that they brought, the level of commitment they lived up to … the seniors pulled the sophomores and freshmen together right away, and we had good team chemistry. I’m going to miss what they brought to the table.”
“We’re going to be very young next year,” Asadoorian added. “Hopefully the kids that were on the team this year will step up … they’re going to have to be leaders. I told the sophomores that they’re the ones who are going to be the captains next year. We have a lot of work to do, but they had a positive experience this year, and they learned from those five seniors.”