Tigers’ stunner nets berth

WESTFIELD – While Friday nights are often a popular night at the movies, some award-winning drama played out Whitney Field thanks to the Westfield Voc-Tech softball team.
On Friday, Westfield Voc-Tech stunned mighty Pathfinder 5-3, handing the Pioneers (13-1 TCL) their first league loss and qualifying for the Western Massachusetts Division III softball tournament.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment,” Voc-Tech coach Kyle Dulude said.
Voc-Tech’s Brandi Vangelder proved to be one of the leading stars. Under the weather for much of the day, Vangelder stuck it out only to roll her ankle on a freak play where the ball deflected off the men’s pitching mound. With no bench players, she stayed on despite illness and injury to contribute six key plays, including two in the seventh to spur a 1-2-3 inning against Pathfinder’s top-of-the-lineup.
The game was filled with highlight reel plays from the Tigers.
Voc-Tech’s Elyza Colson threw out one of Pathfinder’s speedsters, Stephanie Costa and Amber Lindsay combined to record seven outs defensively on the left side of the field, and Katie Nesmelova hitting a 2-run double in the third inning. Nesmelova knocked in Cathie Iglesias and Steffany Costa, who drew walks.
Some good baserunning manufactured two more runs for Voc-Tech. Tigers’ pitcher Megan Illnicky walked just one, and was effective on the mound.
“It was good to (qualify for the postseason) against another tournament team that is very strong and has one of the best pitchers around,” Dulude said. “I’m proud of the girls to refocus and move on after our prior loss and prove to themselves that they can be a very strong team.”

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