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Cranston West softball to the DI title series behind Crudale’s gem

PROVIDENCE — Mia Crudale didn’t have time for rest and she didn’t need it.

Crudale threw 10 innings of one-run ball in an elimination game victory on Wednesday. And her latest expertise came just 24 hours later in another do-or-die game for Cranston West softball. The senior delivered again with a complete-game, one-hitter to silence East Greenwich in the one-loss Division I softball final.

Sofia Marella scored the lone RBI with a fly down the right line, scoring Siena Nardelli from second with two outs in the first inning. Crudale was phenomenal for the second day in a row as the Falcons advanced to the championship series with a 1-0 victory. Her 24-hour streak is an impeccable 17 innings, six hits, one earned run with 17 strikeouts and five walks.

“She’s doing great, every pitch I call she’s hitting,” said Marella, Crudale’s batterymate. “She doesn’t miss anything, she’s doing great.”

More: Western softball is making its way to the Division II championship series

Game 1 of the championship series vs. La Salle is Friday at 6 p.m. at the Dayna Bazar Softball Complex at Rhode Island College.

“When we scored that one point, I knew we could win it no matter how many points we scored next or if we didn’t score like we did,” Crudale said.

Marella saw six pitches before giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead on the winning single as Nardelli, who walked and then stole second, set the table for Cranston West. Nardelli kept the Falcons ahead with 10 putouts, including a diving catch in center field. The junior made a great leap and ran to his left for the tough out in the fifth.

It’s also been quite the last 24 hours for Nardelli, who scored the go-ahead run against Prout in the ten-inning thriller. Nardelli reached base safely twice with two free bases, the only free bases surrendered by East Greenwich’s Ava Fairbanks. But her play in the outfield really made the difference as Cranston West won the third elimination game of the tournament.

“I think I had a lot more balls hit at me today than I have all season,” Nardelli said.

“To be honest, the way we played a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure we were going to make it here,” Nardelli said of Cranston West’s run. “But I think we’re doing pretty well now.”

In the other half of the pitchers’ game, Fairbanks threw six innings with eight strikeouts and only three hits allowed. Fairbanks was just as impressive, but its lone run spelled doom for the Avengers.

Cranston West will again play with almost no rest and this time against the undefeated Rams, who topped the Falcons 14-4 and 10-4 on the season. La Salle reached the title series last Sunday with a 5-2 win against the Avengers.

“I’ve never been there, we’ve only made it to the quarterfinals every year I’ve been here,” Marella said. “But it’s great to go all the way to the finals as a senior. It’s great.”

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On X: @ByJacobRousseau

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