Published in the June 25, 2019 edition.
By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI
WORCESTER — The Austin Prep softball team, which includes Wakefield players Amanda Patti and Jodee Domey, won their first ever state title last Saturday afternoon as they shut out Turners Falls 3-0 at Worcester State in the Division 3 championship game.
With that win, the Cougars ended the season at 24-2 while the West champion Thunder ended up at 22-3.
“It feels awesome,” stated Cougars manager Frank Sorrenti, whose team won the Catholic Central League title this year. “It is a terrific feeling. We were on a mission and were never deterred.”
Cougar pitcher, Serena Gilbride, posted the shutout finishing at 24-2 in the circle. The senior went all seven innings giving up seven hits. She did not allow a walk and she struck out two. She got 12 fly ball outs.
Austin Prep scored once in the bottom of the third inning. Lauren Sablone bunted to reach and she got to third base on a steal and a sacrifice bunt by Alexandra Santostefano. Brianna Meroli then singled her home.
The two other runs came in the fifth inning. The Thunder intentionally walked Meroli to load the bases with one out. Francesca Frelick made them pay as she slammed a two-run double to right field off pitcher Jade Tyler.
Ella Saracco then made a huge diving play at shortstop with two runners on to help end a Thunder threat in the sixth inning.
When the Cougars recorded the final out, it set off a wild celebration by the team. What made it even sweeter is that Turners Falls beat the Cougars in the title game back in 2016 and 2017.
Patti, a utility player, is a sophomore while Domey, an outfielder, is a freshman.
“Amanda (Patti) has been developing for us,” said Sorrenti, about the second baseman. “She had a big home run against Peabody and she has a lot of upside.”
Domey has been used mostly as a pinch runner as she is one of the youngest players on the team.
“We have been trying to work her in the outfield rotation but we have a lot of older players there,” said Sorrenti.
In the state semifinal game on June 19, the Cougars beat Case 10-7 down at Jack Tripp Field in Taunton.
Sablone was the star in this one as she went 3 for 4 at the dish. She had two doubles and a triple. She also scored twice.
Case actually led 2-0 in the first inning before the Cougars came back plating four runs in the bottom of the first. Melina Fedele had the big hit with a three-run homer.
In the bottom of the second, Sablone had a two-run double to make it 6-2.
The Cardinals, who finished at 18-7, chipped away scoring single runs in the third and fourth innings. They then scored again to make it 6-5 in the fifth.
Sablone, however came through in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run triple as the Cougars scored three times.
Meroli then had a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth for the Cougars final run.
The Cardinals, who stranded 16 runners, scored twice in the top of the seventh before Gilbride closed the door as the Cougars turned a double play to end the game.
“We brought our bats out and came out firing,” said Sorrenti.
The Cougars edged St. Mary’s of Lynn 2-1 in the Division 3 North final June 15 at Martin Field in Lowell.
With that win, the top-seeded Cougars improved to 22-2 while the third-seeded Spartans ended the year at 19-5.
Alex Santostefano accounted for both runs as she had an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning to end the game. Lauren Sablone, who singled and went to second on a passed ball, scored the run.
That duo also accounted for the other run as Santostefano had a single in the bottom of the first. Sablone singled and then stole second to get into scoring position.
The Spartans lone run cane in the top of the fifth as Christina Nowicki had an RBI single to score Alyssa Grossi who reached with a single.
Serena McGinness was the Cougars winning pitcher going all eight innings. She gave the one run and six hits. She walks two and struck out five.
“It was an incredible win,” stated Cougars manager Frank Sorrenti. “It was one of the real thrills I have had in my eight years here. “We always know it is going to be a battle when we play St. Mary’s.”
The teams split the two regular-season meetings.
It was the second game in two days for the team as they beat Lynnfield, 7-4, in the semifinal game the night before also at Martin Field.
With that loss, the 13th-seeded Pioneers ended the year at 14-8.
After Lynnfield scored in the top of the first inning, the Cougars responded with two runs in the bottom of the first. Brianna Meroli had an RBI single to score Santostefano, who doubled. Melina Fedele then had an RBI double to plate Meroli.
In the bottom of the third, the Cougars scored three times. Sablone (single) and Santostefano (walk) both reached base. Sablone then scored on an error at shortstop on a ball hit by Fedele
Fedele then had a two-run single to make it 5-1.
Lynnfield scored in the top of the third to cut the lead to three but the Cougars scored once in the bottom of the fourth as Fedele walked with the bases loaded.
The Pioneers cut the lead to 6-3 in the top of the fifth but an RBI double by Sablone made the lead four again although Sablone was thrown out at third to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Lynnfield scored once and had the bases loaded when pitcher Serena Gilbride got the final out on a ground out to second base.
Gilbride went all seven innings allowing four runs, ten hits, two walks and she struck out four.