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GROTON — The Groton-Dunstable softball team has enjoyed an outstanding regular season and the Lady Crusaders were looking to finish that regular season with a win over league rival Quabbin.

The Panthers would have none of it, playing a perfect six innings before holding off a seventh-inning rally by the Lady Crusaders to post a 4-3 win.

Before the game, Groton-Dunstable coach Derek Asadoorian assessed the game as a match-up between two evenly matched teams. In their first meeting in Barre, Groton-Dunstable registered a tough 1-0 victory.

“We showed a lot of fight at the end,” said Asadoorian. “We made some mental errors that put us in a hole. Give Quabbin credit, they played well. We made some hard outs in the game but it is tough to fall behind against a quality team.”

Quabbin threatened in the top of the first when Jill Welch reached on an error and moved to second on Theresa Tremblay’s sacrifice bunt, but Groton-Dunstable starting pitcher Kerry Alcott got a popout and a groundout to escape unscathed.

Groton-Dunstable’s Meg McLean led off the bottom of the inning with a bunt single, and advanced to third base, but Quabbin pitcher Maggie Lacwason (seven innings, no earned runs, four hits, three strikeouts, no walks) got an inning-ending popout to keep the game scoreless.

Quabbin took the lead for good with two runs in the top of the second. Katie Josephson singled and Jackie Chisholm came on to pinch-run. Lacwason grounded out but the throw to second to try to erase Chisholm was errant, moving the runner to third base. Run-producing singles by Camille Akey and Jill Welch made it 2-0.

Lacwason was a strike-throwing machine and settled in, retiring 18 consecutive hitters after McLean’s bunt single. She consistently got ahead on counts and played to her defense, receiving a strong effort from Akey at shortstop.

The Panthers padded a lead with a run in the third. Groton-Dunstable centerfielder Stephanie Dodson made a great over-the-shoulder catch of Jess Senecal’s hard line drive for the second out, but Chisholm tripled and scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.

With one out in the fourth, Jess O’Sullivan came on in relief for Groton-Dunstable and picked up a strikeout and groundout to end the inning. O’Sullivan allowed a single in each of the fifth and sixth innings, but tossed goose eggs as the game move into the top of the seventh with Quabbin on top 3-0. The hit she allowed in the fifth was a softball rarity, Quabbin’s Carpenter breaking a bat and seeing her soft shot go for an infield hit.

The Panthers tacked on an insurance run when Tremblay singled, moved to third on an error and scored on Chisholm’s sacrifice fly.

After not having a baserunner since the first inning, the Lady Crusaders stirred around in the bottom of the seventh. Dodson and O’Sullivan led off with singles to set the table. After a popout, Breezy Riposa reached on an error to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Dodson to score and advanced runners to second and third. Kate Stowell plated O’Sullivan with a groundout before Jackie Ordemann’s run-producing single sliced the lead to 4-3. Lacwason maintained her composure and induced a fly ball to center field to seal the deal.

Alcott allowed two earned runs and five hits over 3 1/3 innings, striking out two and walking one. O’Sullivan surrendered no earned runs and three hits over 3 2/3 innings, notching six strikeouts and walking none.

Groton-Dunstable finished the regular season with a 15-5 record, including 8-4 in MidWach B and now awaits the pairings for the Central Massachusetts Division 2 Tournament.

Quabbin improved to 13-6 overall, including 6-5 in league and has one regular season game remaining.

They will compete in the Central Massachusetts Division 1 Tournament.

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