‘They’re all feeling confident’: Hawks of all ages contribute in win over Westborough softball

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‘They’re all feeling confident’: Hawks of all ages contribute in win over Westborough softball
The Hawks celebrate Lauren O’Malley’s (center-left) third-inning home run. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

HUDSON – Eighth-grade rookie. Sophomore sensation. Senior captain.

Each can be found in Hudson’s softball lineup, and on Sunday night, each found important ways to impact the game. With contributions up and down the lineup – from players of different ages and skill sets – the Hudson Hawks defeated the Westborough Rangers, 11-3, in a rain-delayed contest played at O’Donnell Field.

The Rangers – who won their last matchup against Mid-Wach-A rival Hudson, 12-10, in Westborough on April 26 – picked up where they left off the previous game. After the first two batters were retired to open the game, Westborough started to rally. Two of the team’s senior captains, Penny Desjardins and Laura Rice, reached base safely, and RBI singles from Bryce Kane and Hannah Rice brought them home, putting the Rangers ahead 2-0.

Kane, who pitched 5 innings for Westborough, halted the Hawks in the opening two innings. Despite allowing two first-inning singles, the Rangers caught a baserunner stealing third to leave the frame unscathed. In the next inning, Hudson would run into an inning-ending double play. With the Hawks’ offense quiet, the team’s pitching became all the more important.

‘They’re all feeling confident’: Hawks of all ages contribute in win over Westborough softball
Hudson’s Taylor Attaway fires toward home plate. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

Hudson sophomore Taylor Attaway was strong on the mound. Aside from Kane’s sixth-inning home run that scored Westborough’s third run, Attaway stopped the Rangers’ offense moving forward. Over 7 innings, Attaway struck out four, allowed five total hits, and hurled a 1-2-3 inning to officially clinch the win. With Attaway holding the Rangers off, the Hudson offense finally arrived.

“When we played them last time we had an ‘off day.’ I tip my cap to them, they played great, they capitalized on all our mistakes, and that’s what good teams do. [My team was] definitely angry about that loss. I was proud of them, especially with the rain [and how] we were supposed to play yesterday. I do think we came out a little slow, but we had to refocus,” Hudson Head Coach Laura Bowen told the Community Advocate after the game.

The Hawks made their mark in what would become a four-run third inning. After senior Alyssa Davis (1-3, 2R) and senior Livi Sousa (3-4, 2B, 2 1B) got on base, junior Lauren O’Malley cracked the softball past the outfield fence for a three-run home run that put Hudson on top 3-2. Later, an RBI bunt by freshman Liv Connolly (2-2, 2 1B) made it 4-2.

‘They’re all feeling confident’: Hawks of all ages contribute in win over Westborough softball
Hudson’s Audrey Lenox makes contact with the pitch. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

“That was huge,” Bowen said of O’Malley’s no-doubter. “That was important for us to get back into it. She’s a dangerous hitter.”

Hudson kept going, sending batters to the plate a total of 36 times over six innings. Players down the batting order produced consistently throughout the game; every Hawk in the starting lineup reached base at least once. In particular, eighth-grader Sydney Roush made an impact, going 2-4 (2B, R) and making an acrobatic catch in right field, entering into a headlong dive to rob the Westborough batter of an extra-base hit.

Roush’s career day – and defensive heroics – did not go unnoticed. She was named Player of the Game.

“In practice, we’ve worked on catches a lot… I think in the moments during that… catch, I just knew I needed to get there. It feels really good [to be part of the team]. I’m in the big-leagues now,” Roush said.

“She’s an eighth-grader. She’s young… I’ve coached her since she was eight years old. It’s awesome to see. She’s a big part of our team, and it’s a tough role when you’re that young,” Bowen said of Roush.

Back-to-back-to-back singles from Roush, Davis and Sousa set the stage for a fourth-inning two-run double from clean-up hitter Audrey Lenox. The Hawks scratched across another run in the fifth inning – on an RBI bunt from senior Colbie Lacina – and scored another three in the sixth inning to accumulate 11 runs.

“They all go through their moments of going through slumps, but I think they’re all feeling confident. That’s half the battle – having the confidence to get in there. I just preach quality at-bats. They made the pitcher work, put the ball in play, got on base, and put pressure on them. I’m feeling good about that,” Bowen said.

With the season coming to an end, the decisive win against Westborough may help the Hawks build momentum going forward. Hudson is ranked fifth in the most recent MIAA Division 3 power rankings. Westborough, an excellent team in its own right, is ranked 23rd in the latest MIAA Division 2 rankings.

“We’re feeling pretty good. We’re confident we can make a run in the playoffs if we play well. We’re staying focused – it’s late in the season, and we’re not getting distracted,” Lenox told the Community Advocate.

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