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By Douglas McCulloch
Hometown Weekly Staff
After a season marred by challenges, the Walpole High softball team made a comeback, pushing through two wins in the playoffs before falling to Hopkinton on June 7 4-2.
When the team clinched a postseason run and finished the regular season with a 11-9 record, they headed into the playoffs with an uncertain future. But the 19th-seeded Rebels managed to pull off a win against 14th-seeded North Attleboro on June 2 with an 8-7 win.
The Rebels held on to an early 1-0 lead, utilizing a strong defense to stop a run to home kept the Rebels with a strong lead until the sixth inning, when North Attleboro stepped up its game and began picking up runs. By the seventh inning, the team had picked up five runs, but the Rebels managed to step up its offense to match.
At one point, a North Attleboro two-run home run left them within two runs of catching up, but the Rebels responded with a their own two-run home run right after that.
According to head coach Rachael Sprague, the game was a battle for the team.
“The game was a battle for all seven innings and we never settled at the plate, which was the difference in the game,” Sprague said.
The North Attleboro game featured strong performances from several Rebels, including Kate Wilmot, who went 3-4 with 2 RBIs. Freshman Mckenzie Rae went 2-4 and brought the Rebels 3 runs. Senior Kat King went 2-3 with 2 RBIs, and senior Melissa Cochrane went 2-4 with 2 runs scored.
The very next day, the team faced off against third-seeded Marshfield. Coming off of a successful win to open the postseason, the girls were determined to keep the momentum going.
“It was tough to play back to back tournament games, but the girls took the momentum from Thursday right into this game and didn't hold back,” Sprague said. “It felt great to be the underdogs and come out with a big win.”
The game against Marshfield was a challenging one for the Rebels, with frequently close scores throughout the game. But Walpole stepped up their defense and picked up an 8-5 win, solidifying the win with a 5-4-3 double play to wrap it up.
Reflecting on the season as a whole, Sprague noted that with the team’s challenges in the regular season, a postseason run is exciting for the team.
“The season had its ups and downs, but everything really started to come together recently,” Sprague said.
Sprague noted that despite the challenges, the season has featured a number of major milestones. Most notably, for the first time in her coaching career the Rebels swept Norwood, with 7-6 and a 11-10 wins.
Despite the team's loss to Hopkinton, Sprague is proud of her team for pulling through and stepping up to the challenge of a postseason run.
“I am so proud of how hard they've been working, their focus, and their determination,” Sprague said.
Click here to see more photos from the North Attleboro.