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Westwood 16Us win Battle of Boston

In the waning hours of a steamy summer Sunday, the Westwood 16U Select softball team capped off a remarkable run, beating the Blue Hills Impact Club, 8-6, to clinch the Battle of Boston in West Roxbury. It was the third consecutive tournament championship for Westwood over a three-week period.

Mary Stronach starred in the championship game, driving in the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning with a double to left field. Stronach also hit a solo home run earlier in the game and played a stellar defensive game at third base. Bridget Mulkeen added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly and nailed down the win on the mound, holding off a valiant rally from the Impact to seal the victory. 

After going 1-2 in pool play, the Westwood girls strung together two wins in Sunday's elimination tournament to qualify for a showdown against a familiar Impact team they had split two games with over the course of the last two weekends. It was only fitting the third pairing took place in a championship setting, as both teams entered evenly matched, with momentum and confidence. 

Westwood advanced to the final thanks to a 6-1 win over the Walpole Crush in the quarterfinal and a 10-2 win over a second Impact team in the semifinal. Abby Johnson, Mia Poles and Erika Sabatino each drove in runs with hits against Walpole. Livy Leyden also singled and scored, while Kate McLeish threw out two batters at first base from her position in right field - the ol' 9-3 in your scorebook. 

In the semifinal win, Mulkeen struck out 11 batters and got a ton of offensive support. Addy Keaveney was 2-4, driving home two runs, while Sasha Marino was 2-3 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. Alaina Martin, the team's leading hitter and starting catcher, was 1-2 with an RBI and a run scored as Westwood won by eight.

With a passionate crowd on hand for the final, Westwood struck immediately, scoring twice in the first. Stronach drove home Keaveney and Mulkeen scored Johnson for an early 2-0 lead. The Impact clawed back with two runs over the next two innings to tie the game, but Stronach led off the top of the fourth with a monstrous shot over the fence in left. Westwood added three more runs in the inning, thanks to an RBI groundout from Marino and a single to right from Dahlia Leyden that scored two. 

The 6-2 lead was never safe as the Impact continued to fight, scoring two in the fourth and two in the fifth to even the game. A scoreless sixth set the stage for some seventh inning drama. 

Johnson got aboard with a walk and advanced to second, bringing Stronach to the plate. The right-handed slugger rocketed the tenth pitch of her at bat to left field and Johnson sprinted home to make it 7-6. Mulkeen followed with a sacrifice fly to center for a two-run cushion. 

Mulkeen, working with Martin behind the plate, fought through a tough bottom half to secure the win, striking out the game's final batter, setting off a celebration and culminating an incredible season for the squad. The 16U Select team finished the summer 25-8 through 33 games, with three tournament championships and memories to last a lifetime. 

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