The Hope Highlands Huskies scored three runs in the seventh inning to come back and beat the Gallagher Wolves 7-6 on Friday afternoon at Gallagher Middle School.
Hope Highlands’ 7th grader Gianna King had a double, a walk, and drove in two runs including the game-winning run in the top of the seventh inning.
Eighth-grader Gabby Cunha started in the circle for the Huskies and pitched a complete game while striking out two.
“She always pulls through for us,” Hope Highlands head coach Alexa St. Angelo said. “She carries the team pretty much. She’s pitched in every single game so far this year and we’re really proud of her. She’s a great pitcher.”
Cunha admitted she was a bit skittish, but she didn’t let it get in the way of her goal of playing at Rhode Island College in the semifinals and championship rounds.
“I was really nervous, but I really want to play at Rhode Island College and this is my last year in middle school, so I just wanted to finish it off strong,” Cunha said.
Lauren Boyd had two hits for Gallagher, including an inside-the-park home run and three RBI.
Gallagher started the game with Skyla Oliveira in the circle and she pitched five innings and struck out five.
Cunha worked her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the first inning. But in the top of the second inning Gallagher took a 1-0 lead when Boyd drove in Oliveira with the bases loaded.
The Huskies took a 3-1 advantage in the top second inning on an RBI double from Chanel Ghazal and a two-run single from Ava Estrella.
However, Gallagher took a one-run lead in the fourth.
With one out, Boyd hit an RBI single to score Oliveira and pulled Gallagher within one run at 3-2. Next, Danielle Tourgee slammed a two-RBI double through the middle and put Gallagher up 4-3. Gallagher’s Ella Bose then hit an infield RBI single and extended the Wolves edge to 5-3.
The Huskies inched closer in the top of the fifth when with the bases loaded, King hammered an RBI single down the third baseline and pulled Hope Highlands back within one at 5-4.
Gallagher increased its lead to 6-4 in the sixth when Boyd hit an inside-the-park home run, which ended with a close play at the plate.
However, Hope Highlands’ Alessandra Messina and Rita Ciccone earned back-to-back walks to lead off the seventh, before a single up the middle from Ashlee Tennett loaded the bases. Cunha came through with a blast at the shortstop, which was bobbled, allowing two runs to score, and knotted the game at 6. King then slammed an RBI double, which scored Tennett and gave the Huskies a 7-6 lead.
Hope Highland’s offense came through in just a nick of time.
“They put the work in and that’s what I need all the time,” St. Angelo said. “So it counts in times like this.”
St. Angelo is a Cranston East alumni who played shortstop for the Lady ‘Bolts and graduated in 2015.
It was a thrilling win for the Huskies, who moved on to play city rival Western Hills in the semifinals on Tuesday. The Huskies won their regular season matchup against Western Hills on May 15 by a score of 10-7. The results for the semifinal matchup were not unavailable by press time.
Prior to the semifinals, Cunha felt confident that her team could go all the way.
“I definitely think we are capable of it,” Cunha said.
The magic that Cunha performed in the circle can also be attributed to the efforts of catcher, Emily Eastman.
“She’s a leader on this team,” St. Angelo said. “So, I rely on her for that and she pulls through every game.”