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Softball

No. 1 Conant makes it to semis

Farmington, Hopkinton were no match

  • The Conant girls softball team defeated Farmington in the first round of the DIII playoffs on May 5.
  • The Conant girls softball team defeated Farmington in the first round of the DIII playoffs on May 5.

The Conant softball team is headed to the Final Four. The Orioles conquered demons and gained confidence when they defeated Farmington 2-0 on June 5.

Last June, the Orioles entered the playoffs seeded fourth and lost to Farmington in the quarterfinals 4-0, unable to figure out opposing ace Jennelle Thompson. This year’s match up proved to be a different story as the Orioles jumped on Thompson early, scoring both runs in the first two innings.

The Orioles were unable to generate much offense following the two early runs, and thanks to junior ace Ivy Chalke, they didn’t need to. Chalke was dominant throughout the contest, mixing up pitches and keeping Farmington hitters guessing. Chalke finished the game with 11 strikeouts while only allowing one runner to reach third base.

Following the game, starting catcher and team captain Heather Bilodeau reflected on the teams winning effort.

“Beating this team is definitely a confidence builder after what happened last year. But we can’t take it too far and get big heads,” said Bilodeau.

Bilodeau was quick to praise Thompson’s prowess on the mound.

“We have seen [Thompson] two or three years in a row now so we knew what was coming.”

Bilodeau, a veteran of the Orioles softball program believes that the teams focus is better than in years past.

“Our mental preparedness is much better this year. [During the game] Ivy and I had a few laughs while celebrating our minor victories to loosen up,” said Bilodeau.

Head coach Tom Lambert was not thoroughly pleased with the way his girls played, but was happy to come away with the win.

“We’ve won ugly this year. We often make mistakes and then better plays follow them,” he said.

The Orioles then went on to host Hopkinton on Monday. Although the Orioles had beaten Hopkinton twice during the regular season, Lambert made it clear to his team that the team can not be overlooked.

“We need to take this playoff run one game at a time no matter who our opponent is. It’s hard to beat a team three times in a season,” Lambert told his team before the quarterfinal contest.

The Orioles beat Hopkinton 4-1 on Monday to make it to the Final Four; they’ll travel to Plymouth on Wednesday for a game against Campbell, last year’s defending champion. The Orioles beat Campbell twice already this season as well.

Dylan Fisher can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235, or dfisher@ledgertranscript.com.

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