Preview capsule outlook of today’s high school tournament action
High school tournaments today
Division II semifinals
No. 14 ConVal (8-10) vs. No. 7 John Stark (13-5), 5 p.m.
Previous tournament games: John Stark beat No. 10 Portsmouth, 5-4, and No. 2 Goffstown, 6-2. Con-Val upset No. 3 Souhegan, 8-6, and No. 6 Plymouth, 2-0.
head to head: The Generals beat Con-Val, 14-0, on May 2.
Notes: Stark had little trouble with the Cougars when these two teams met in Peterborough back in May. The Generals broke things open with a 10-run seventh inning, Lindsey Turner struck out 11 on her way to a complete-game shutout, and Jackie Kilar went 3-for-5 with five RBI to pace the offense. That decision snapped ConVal’s three-game winning streak and sent the Cougars into a 1-5 tailspin over their next six games. But ConVal, the defending D-II champs, has regained its footing in the postseason and is now in its third straight semifinals. The Cougars took advantage of five Souhegan errors in the first round and rode a one-hit pitching performance from Courtney Fisher to beat Plymouth.
Turner has been excellent for Stark in two postseason starts, allowing just one earned run in 14 innings. Kilar is 4-for-7 with three RBI in her two playoff games, Jillian Kilar delivered a game-winning grand slam against Goffstown and Carly Cook is coming off a 4-for-4 performance. The Generals have been shaky defensively in the playoffs, but if they can find some answers there, they may become the first Stark softball team to ever reach the finals.
No. 12 Pembroke (10-9) vs. No. 1 Coe-Brown (16-2), 7 p.m.
Previous tournament games: Coe-Brown beat No. 16 St. Thomas, 15-2, and No. 9 Milford, 9-7. Pembroke upset No. 5 Sanborn, 5-1, and No. 4 Windham, 10-6.
head to head: Coe-Brown beat the Spartans twice: 10-6 on May 17 in Northwood and 6-3 on May 21 in Pembroke.
Notes: The Bears may have won both games against Pembroke this year, but they know this game will be a different challenge.
“Although we beat them twice, (Pembroke) is playing a lot better this time around,” Coe-Brown Coach Tim Tenasco said after his team’s quarterfinal win. “We still need to prepare hard.”
Coe-Brown pitcher Kianna Daudelin had given up just two runs in her first 11 playoff innings this spring before Milford scored six runs in the top of the seventh to make things interesting. Amanda Riley is swinging a hot bat at the right time for the Bears, going 6-for-8 with four RBI in the two tournament games, and Shannon Burke has five postseason RBI.
Wins against Plymouth and Windham in the last two regular-season games gave Pembroke some momentum heading into the tournament and the Spartans have made the most of it. Pembroke pitcher Hannah Seidner gave up just four hits and one run to lead the way in the first-round win against Sanborn, and the offense took center stage in the quarterfinal. Emma Gagnon delivered a three-run home run, Brianna Connolly went 3-for-4 with four RBI, and Marissa Kibbee went 2-for-4 for the second straight playoff game.
Division IV semifinals
At Plymouth State University
No. 3 Pittsfield (15-3) vs. No. 2 Sunapee (15-3), 4 p.m.
Previous tournament games: Pittsfield rolled to wins against No. 14 Moultonborough, 7-3, and No. 6 Newmarket, 9-3. Sunapee downed No. 15 Nute. 9-1, and No. 10 Profile, 10-0.
head to head: The Panthers won both meetings against Sunapee – 4-3 on May 7 in Pittsfield and 9-3 on May 19 in Sunapee.
Notes: The defending-champion Panthers raked during the regular season, scoring 9.5 runs per game, and their bats haven’t cooled in the playoffs. Kris Perkins, the D-IV Player of the Year, Max Tuttle and Branden Smith all had two hits in the quarterfinal win against Newmarket, and Jed Eastman contributed three RBI after going 2-for-4 in the first round.
The nine runs Pittsfield scored against Sunapee on May 19 is the most the Lakers have allowed season, but they have been stingy lately, giving up just one run in their last five games. One of those was a 14-0 win against Derryfield, the only other team to beat Sunapee this season.
“Our biggest advantage going into the game is that we’ve seen Sunapee’s two best pitchers,” Pittsfield Coach Rob Stockman said. “They’re a great team, and it will be a great battle.”