WHS seeks to fight off Naps

Westfield left fielder Annalise Eak is mobbed by teammates after crushing a three-run homerun over the left field wall. (Submitted photo)

Westfield left fielder Annalise Eak is mobbed by teammates after crushing a three-run homerun over the left field wall during the regular season. The Bombers, who have celebrated 23 straight victories, are looking to extend their unbeaten streak into the state championship with a win against Holy Name, of Worcester, Tuesday night. First pitch at Worcester State is at 7.

WESTFIELD – The Westfield High School softball team is in the state semifinals for the third time in nine years. This time, the unbeaten Bombers are hoping for a bit of charm.
Westfield (23-0) won its first Western Massachusetts Division 1 title since 2007 with a thrilling win over Longmeadow in the championship Sunday at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
In that game, Westfield senior ace Sarah McNerney and the Bombers outlasted UConn-bound pitcher Jillian Stockley. No. 7 batter Analise Eak provided the game-winning hit.
It was a quick turnaround for Westfield, which dispatched the hard-slugging Minnechaug Falcons less than 24 hours before in an afternoon semifinals tilt Saturday. The championship was held Sunday at 10 a.m.
Westfield will now take on Holy Name of Worcester (21-3), an eight-time Central Mass. champion, Tuesday night at Worcester State University at 7.
For Westfield, squaring off against Holy Name in the state semifinal game will be like facing Minnechaug (hitting) and Longmeadow (pitching) all rolled into one.
“(Holy Name) has a very good lead-off hitter – their captain Ama Biney – who is extremely fast … and is sort of the catalyst for their team,” Westfield coach Joe Stella said. “Generally, they’re a good hitting team, they have a pitcher who throws hard, maybe fourth best (in their region) and moving up.”
Holy Name senior pitcher Kelsey Saucier, who recorded more than 200 strikeouts this season, earned a 9-1 victory over Shepherd Hill Saturday night by retiring seven in a row.
“We need to keep Biney off the basepaths, and just like with (Jillian) Stockley we need to make adjustments and put the ball in play,” Stella said. “We have people that step up, different people in different games.”
Sound hitting, power pitching, and superb defense, has gotten Westfield this far. Obviously the Bombers are doing something right if no one has found a way to interrupt that perfect streak.
“We’re not going to do anything different,” Stella said. “We’re going to do what got us here. Hopefully that will be successful for us.”
Notes: Although Holy Name has won eight CMASS championships, it was the Naps’ first title since 2001.

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