Successful games on Sunday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the MIAA tournaments allow the Rockets to proceed to the semifinals on Wednesday. #2 Auburn Baseball came in with a 16-4 record and defeated #10 Nipmuc 7-4 while #4 Auburn Softball (13-7) bested #5 Gardner 6-0.
Auburn kept the Warriors scoreless in the first inning and went on a rally when they got to the plate. The Rockets scored 5 runs, and it looked like they had this game wrapped up with a lead that held until the fourth when a long ball to left field allowed one Warrior to score.
Nipmuc added 3 runs in the fifth, and the Auburn lead slipped to 1 point, 5-4. A misthrow to first in the bottom of the fifth allowed another Rocket score, and an additional run happened in the sixth. The final score was 7-4.
The Rockets are schedule to play #6 Hudson (7-13) at 4:00PM on Wednesday at Fino Field in Milford. Hudson beat #3 Grafton in the quarterfinals, 2-1.
In softball, pressure from the Auburn bats in the third inning gave the home team a 6-0 lead over Gardner, and this would also be the final score. A bunt by Liz Simonian started the scoring spree when the fielder’s choice allowed a run. A passed ball generated the second run, and a single by Julia Handfield brought in the third.
A dropped catch in the Gardner left field yielded a fourth run, and a double by Jess Chenard earned the fifth score. A single by Colleen Fellows brought in the sixth and final run of the game, and there were still 4 innings to play.
As the team gathered after the win, Coach Kim Danish named catcher Tyler Rano as her gold star player after a great play in the top of the third inning. After the second out, a strike out, Rano had the ball in her hand and observed a Wildcat between first and second. She made a hard throw to first base and got the player who had failed to quickly return.
Danish said that moment was a pivotal point for the Rockets, and they immediately scored 6 runs. “Up to that moment, it looked like the Wildcats wanted this win more.” She has been using some of the goal setting ideas written by Jim Afremow in his book The Champion’s Mind, and it appears to be working well.
With the #5 to #10 teams eliminated from the tournament, #4 Auburn is now at the bottom of the bracket, and they will face #1 Oakmont on Wednesday, 7:00PM, at Rockwood Field at Worcester State University. Good luck to both teams.