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Nashoba Valley Voice/Ed Niser
Groton-Dunstable second baseman Laura Bieren fields a throw to first during Tuesday’s loss to Westford Academy.

By Ed Niser

GROTON — Westford Academy catcher Caroline Baggergoer crushed a deep home run to left center field to cap off a four-run third inning in Tuesday’s 8-2 win over Groton-Dunstable (0-1).

The home run came following a come-backer to the circle that caught Crusader senior ace Sarah Woods.

Woods struck out nine and was touched up for 12 hits over seven innings. Groton-Dunstable was led at the plate by Jen Thorburn, who was 2 for 2 with an RBI and a walk.

“I am really pleased with our senior leadership in Rose O’Malley, Emily Figueroa, Laura Bieren and Sarah Woods,” First-year head coach John Palumbo said. “They are a little bit discouraged right now, but this is probably the best team we will face all year. We had a couple of balls we hit really hard but they were just in the right position. We have a couple things we will clean up, but I am happy to see the girls are hitting.”

Westford Academy ace Angela Alibrandi surrendered two runs on 7 hits and fanned four in the complete game victory,

Woods made quick work of Westford Academy’s top-tier of the lineup with three quick outs. Rose O’Malley was left stranded at first after working a two-out walk.

Westford Academy center fielder Emily Bramanti roped a one-out single up the middle. Woods struck out Alibrandi and Marina Ottaviano to end the inning.

The Grey Ghosts broke the scoreless game open in the third inning with four runs. Baggergoer unloaded on a Woods’ heater and deposited it well over the left center field fence and deep into the brush to put Westford Academy out in front, 4-0.

Groton-Dunstable second baseman Laura Bieren (2 for 4, 2B) wrapped a double down the right field line. Alibrandi recovered and induced a ground out to second from Figueroa to keep the Crusaders’ bats at bay.

The Grey Ghosts picked up where they left off in the fourth with four insurance runs.

Alibrandi reached on a line drive double to left center field. Then, Ottavino singled to put runners at the corners with one out. Kayla Murphy ripped a one-out two-run double to make it, 8-0.

Groton-Dunstable broke up the shutout bid on a Thorburn single through the left side to score pinch runner Emma Grondolsky from second. Grondolsky ran in place of Woods, who cranked a double to right field.

Whitney Ellis singled and advanced to second earlier in the inning, but was left on the paths as Alibrandi caught Bridget O’Malley looking for the final out.

Woods was lights out in the fifth inning as she picked up a strike out and a pair of putouts. Figueroa secured a bullet line drive by Ottavino to retire the side in order.

Rose O’Malley used a sacrifice ground ball to second in the home half of the fifth to score the Crusaders’ final run in Bieren, who reached on a single to left.

“Whatever the conditions are, this team is just going to keep going.” Palumbo said.

Groton-Dunstable returns to action Friday afternoon, when it hosts Fitchburg at 4 p.m.

Follow Ed Niser on Twitter/Tout:@EdNiser

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