Unfazed by back-and-forth opening inning, Attaway guides Hudson softball to Elite 8

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Unfazed by back-and-forth opening inning, Attaway guides Hudson softball to Elite 8
Hudson’s Taylor Attaway fires the ball toward home plate. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

HUDSON – Wednesday night’s MIAA Division 3 softball match could be neatly divided into two halves.

The first inning – and then everything else.

After a raucous start to the game that saw rallies from both teams, the No. 4 Hudson Hawks outlasted the No. 14 Pembroke Titans, winning the Round of 16 match, 4-2, to qualify for the Elite 8. That game will be played at Hudson High School on June 7 at 6 p.m. against No. 6 Triton Regional.

“The team is jacked. We have really great energy right now, which is huge. We’re feeling good,” Hudson Head Coach Laura Bowen told the Community Advocate immediately after her team’s big win.

Unfazed by back-and-forth opening inning, Attaway guides Hudson softball to Elite 8
Hudson’s Audrey Lenox throws the ball while warming up between innings. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

The game didn’t start as Hudson would’ve hoped. Pembroke hit back-to-back singles in the opening frame, with both runners scoring on Grace Baker’s one-out triple. Conceding runs early has been an unfortunate habit for Hudson – Wednesday’s action marked the seventh consecutive game where the Hawks have allowed their opponent to score within the first two innings.

So, having been in this situation before, Hudson knew what needed to be done. Without hesitation, the Hawks started rolling on offense. Alyssa Davis’ lead-off single, Livi Sousa’s sacrifice bunt, and three straight doubles – from Lauren O’Malley, Audrey Lenox and Sam Collette – helped Hudson score three runs, giving the Hawks a 3-2 lead.

“It’s kind of what we’ve been doing – we’ve been giving up a few runs in the first inning. I think just taking the momentum back right away was huge for us. We got up, I loved our energy, we didn’t panic, and we answered. That was a big moment in the game – if you don’t answer right away all of a sudden you’re having some doubt. I was super proud of them for that,” said Bowen.

Unfazed by back-and-forth opening inning, Attaway guides Hudson softball to Elite 8
Hudson teammates encourage pitcher Taylor Attaway. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

Despite the frenetic start, the rest of the game was marked by strong pitching and defense.

Taylor Attaway, Hudson’s sophomore starting pitcher, was outstanding despite getting hit early. Over 88 pitches and seven innings of work, Attaway allowed five hits, striking out four. Throughout the night, Attaway retired several Pembroke batters in high-pressure situations, keeping the Hawks ahead 3-2.

“I think that was one of the best games she’s pitched all year. She had some big outs in big moments, which was huge and kept them off-balance. It’s nice to have a good defense behind you, which made some really big plays. I think that fired her up too,” Bowen said.

“I just know my defense always has my back no matter what,” Attaway said after the game, attributing her success to her teammates. “Even though I might make small mistakes, they make up for it all the time.”

Unfazed by back-and-forth opening inning, Attaway guides Hudson softball to Elite 8
Hudson celebrates after winning the game. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

The Hawks would eventually break through in the sixth inning, adding an all-important insurance run to extend the lead to 4-2. After an error allowed Collette to get on base, Liv Connolly looped the ball into center field to score the run, giving the team extra confidence to close out the tight game.

Now onto the Elite 8, the Hudson team is feeling “pretty good,” according to Attaway.

“We had a really good practice yesterday, everyone was having fun and enjoying themselves. That really helps going into games. Hopefully tomorrow we have a good practice. We believe in ourselves,” she said.

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