Softball: Hannah Gilbert allows two hits as Franklin Tech knocks off Blackstone Valley, 7-3 (PHOTOS)

Franklin Tech’s Cordelia Guerin is struck by a pitch against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday.

Franklin Tech’s Cordelia Guerin is struck by a pitch against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL

Franklin Tech’s Kaitlin Trudeau has Blackstone Valley Tech’s Maddie Collins caught in a rundown between first and second bases during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday.

Franklin Tech’s Kaitlin Trudeau has Blackstone Valley Tech’s Maddie Collins caught in a rundown between first and second bases during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Franklin Tech’s Lilianna Inman smacks a two-run homer over the left fence in the second inning against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday.

Franklin Tech’s Lilianna Inman smacks a two-run homer over the left fence in the second inning against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Franklin Tech’s Cordelia Guerin connects for a base hit against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday.

Franklin Tech’s Cordelia Guerin connects for a base hit against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Franklin Tech’s Hannah Gilbert connects with a runner at third base against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday.

Franklin Tech’s Hannah Gilbert connects with a runner at third base against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Franklin Tech’s Kyra Goodell scores a run against Blackstone Valley Techduring the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday.

Franklin Tech’s Kyra Goodell scores a run against Blackstone Valley Techduring the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Franklin Tech’s Hannah Gilbert pitches against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday.

Franklin Tech’s Hannah Gilbert pitches against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Franklin Tech’s Lilly Ross is safe at third as Blackstone Valley Tech’s Elleigh MacNeil is late with the tag during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday.

Franklin Tech’s Lilly Ross is safe at third as Blackstone Valley Tech’s Elleigh MacNeil is late with the tag during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Franklin Tech’s Lilianna Inman is greeted at home plate by teammates after hitting a two-run homer in the second inning against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday.

Franklin Tech’s Lilianna Inman is greeted at home plate by teammates after hitting a two-run homer in the second inning against Blackstone Valley Tech during the Eagles’ 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field in Turners Falls on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 04-16-2024 8:11 PM

TURNERS FALLS — It was a unique early season challenge the Franklin Tech softball team faced on Tuesday. 

The Eagles hosted Blackstone Valley Tech — an unfamiliar Central Mass. team which made it to the MIAA Div. 4 Round of 16 last year and bumped up to Div. 3 this spring — in a contest that will help prepare Tech for what’s to come in next month’s state tournament.

Playing a team two divisions higher didn’t bother the Eagles, as Hannah Gilbert limited the Beavers to just two hits while Tech knocked nine hits. Franklin Tech pulled away with a 7-3 victory at Nancy Gifford Field. 

“It was a little bit of an unknown,” Franklin Tech coach Joe Gamache said. “They’re a higher division and from a different part of the state. We didn’t have any intel on them. We got a really solid performance from Hannah out there.” 

Gilbert finished the game with eight strikeouts while the defense behind her came through to make plays when the Eagles (3-0) needed it most. 

Combine that with an offense that put runs on the board in five of the six innings and Tech becomes a very tough challenge for opponents, no matter the division. 

“We made a lot of plays defensively and we got some timely hits,” Gamache said. “Our three keys are good pitching, good, solid defense and timely hitting. The girls executed that today.”

Blackstone (2-2) got the scoring going in the top of the first, with Lynsey Kay scoring on a passed ball to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead. 

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The Eagles answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame. Kait Trudeau was hit by a pitch, stole second, moved to third following a Lilly Ross single before Gilbert cracked a single to drive in Trudeau and knot the game at one. 

Lilianna Inman’s bat put Tech ahead in the second. Cordelia Guerin was walked to open the inning to put a runner on for Inman, who smashed a home run over the left field fence to give the Eagles a 3-1 lead. 

Franklin Tech tacked on a run in the third. Kyra Goodell cracked a single, moved to third following a Guerin double and scored on an Inman single to put Tech ahead 4-1. 

Blackstone’s Brooke Gniadek cracked a base hit to open the fourth, moved to second on a Arihana Mercado ground out, stole third and scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 4-2. 

Goodell added a second home run for Franklin Tech, though it came in a different fashion than Inman’s. With two outs in the fifth, Goodell drilled a line drive down the right field line that rolled to the fence. She used her speed to reach third then turned on the jets to beat the throw home, giving her an inside-the-park home run that put the Eagles ahead 5-2. 

Tech put two insurance runs across in the sixth. Jenna Petrowicz got on with a single, swiped a pair of bases and was driven in off a Ross double. 

Ross then stole third and made it home on a Gilbert sacrifice fly to put Franklin Tech ahead 7-2 going into the seventh. 

The Beavers scored on a double steal in the seventh, with Julia Trujillo crossing home while Isabella Raymond was thrown out at second. Gilbert and Tech escaped further damage and sealed the win.

With three victories to open the season, the Eagles will look to keep their foot on the gas when they get into the heart of Franklin County League East action later this week, hosting Mohawk Trail on Thursday and Hopkins Academy on Friday. 

“We’re in a good spot,” said Gamache. “We get into the thick of our league schedule later this week and we still have some tough independent games sprinkled throughout the regular season. It’ll be a good test. We have some big goals and so far, the girls are putting in the work to achieve those.” 

Blackstone Valley Tech will remain in the area overnight before facing Turners Falls on Wednesday for its two-game stretch in the Powertown.