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High Schools: Kennard pitches Tide softball team past rival Salem

  • Sunday Swett of Bow serves to Brianne Maguire of Kearsarge during heir tennis match; Thursday, April 2, 2013.<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)
  • Emily Irick of Kearsarge hits the ball in her match against Laura Zbehlik of Bow; Thursday, April 2, 2013.<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

The defense wasn’t perfect, but it was stellar when it needed to be. The offense wasn’t on fire, but it was just hot enough.

The result: The Concord High softball team stopped long-time rival Salem, 2-0, yesterday in a showdown between two of the top four teams in Division I. The win moves the Tide to 7-1, while the Blue Devils dropped to 7-2.

The Tide’s Katie Kennard was the victor in this pitchers’ duel, twirling a one-hit shutout, striking out three and walking one. Her counterpart, Salem’s Kaitlyn Arsenault, allowed just four hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

But it wasn’t easy. Though it was scoreless into the fourth, both teams threatened, each stranding a runner on third in two innings.

Bri Bastello singled up the middle to lead off Salem’s third, stole second and took third on a groundout. But Tide third baseman Meaghan Littlejohns smothered a tough-hop grounder and fired to first to end the threat. The next inning, Hannah Latham reached on an error, stole second and took third on a groundout. But shortstop Amy Morin snared a line drive and Kennard coaxed a grounder to second to end that threat.

Concord carried the momentum into the bottom of the fourth when Annie Mullen drew a leadoff walk to start the winning rally. When Kennard laid down a sacrifice bunt, Mullen sped all the way to third. Arsenault got a comebacker for the second out then had a two-strike count on Cassidy Emerson, but the Tide sophomore stroked the next pitch off the tip of the glove of the leaping shortstop to plate Mullen.

“I was thinking I need to find a gap,” Emerson said. “And I thought she had it. I peeked just a little bit (while running to first). We just needed that run to get in.”

“She has a knack with people on base of making something happen,” Concord Coach Duke Sawyer said. “She’s a good person to have up in those situations. She’s not going to watch a third strike go by, she’s going to make something happen.”

While a 1-0 lead was nice, it wasn’t comfortable for the Tide.

“You certainly have a better chance,” Sawyer said of striking first. “Salem and Concord aren’t going to go down without a fight, and we both probably could come back. But it certainly helped scoring first.”

Salem went down 1-2-3 in the fifth, but put two runners aboard in the sixth on a walk and an error before Littlejohns knocked down a grounder up the third base line and slapped her glove on the bag for the third out.

Meanwhile, an inning after stranding Molly Emerson on third following a leadoff triple, Concord turned a leadoff double by Kennard into an insurance run in the sixth. Katherine Muzzey, running for Kennard, moved to third on a wild pitch then scored when Cassidy Emerson grounded to shortstop and reached on the error.

All that was left was for Kennard to record the final three outs, and she did so with plenty of help from her defense. Second baseman Rachel Stevenson made a diving stop on a grounder headed toward center field and came up throwing to first to retire the leadoff batter and significantly decrease the decibels in the Salem dugout. Molly Emerson tracked down a fly to left, then Mullen made a running catch toward the line in right for the final out.

“Our fielders made great plays,” Kennard said. “That’s what every person on this team is looking for, to step it up like that.

“It’s a big win. We got our business done. Our confidence is up and we’re ready to play.”


John Stark 11, Kingswood 2

Jillian Kilar and Riley Beliveau had three hits apiece to lead a potent offense for the Generals (3-5).

Kilar went 3-for-3 and Beliveau was 3-for-4 with an RBI for Stark, which grabbed a 4-0 lead in the top of the first and broke a 4-2 game open with two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth. Kirsten Miller and Carly Cook both went 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Shelby Broulette (four innings) and Lyndsey Turner (three) split the pitching duties.

White Mountains 8, Franklin 1

Despite falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, the Golden Tornadoes (7-2) kept things close with the undefeated Spartans (9-0) until a three-run fifth broke the game open.

Lexi Colpack drilled a home run in the bottom of the fifth for Franklin’s run, and she and Shelby Joyce each managed a pair of hits during the game. Kelsey Bird, Kat Styles, Mariah Gauthier and Kaitlyn Brace also had hits for the Tornadoes.


Concord 7, Salem 3

The Crimson Tide (7-2) bounced back from consecutive losses, pounding out 13 hits to overcome an early 3-1 deficit and roll over the Blue Devils on the road.

Ben Bengtson set the tone with a leadoff home run, and was hit by a pitch to start what became a five-run third inning. Alex Bashios followed with a two-run home run, and after Cody Ferns and Braden Smith singled, Seimou Smith singled in Ferns, Nate Mullen squeezed in Braden Smith and Jon Dunn singled in Seimou Smith.

Ferns finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and run, while Bengtson (2-for-2, two runs), Mullen (2-for-3, RBI) and Dunn (2-for-4, RBI) also had good days at the plate. Josh Partridge improved to 4-0 for the season with seven strikeouts in a complete-game effort, allowing seven hits, one walk and one hit by pitch.

John Stark 4, Kingswood 0

Egan Nickerson’s first varsity start was a memorable one, as the JV call-up struck out five while scattering only four hits to finish the shutout for the Generals (2-5).

The freshman righthander worked well in tandem with catcher Ryan Thompson, and received support at the plate from James Henry (two hits, stolen base, run), David Nelson (single, RBI, run) and Josh Colby (1-for-1, two walks, three RBI) and in the field from Ben Casazza, who made a great catch in left field.

Raymond 8, bishop Brady 2

Raymond (5-3) led 6-0 after the third inning and increased its lead to 8-0 going into the seventh inning.

Freshman Chapin Bassi hit a two-run triple in the seventh to get the Green Giants (2-7) on the board. Adam Gamache pitched two solid innings of relief, giving up an unearned run.


Concord 14,
Nashua South 13, 2OT

Tyler Hatch totaled four goals, none bigger than the one he scored from behind the net in double overtime to lift Concord (2-7) to a come-from-behind win over the Purple Panthers.

The Crimson Tide trailed by a goal with 57 seconds left, but forced overtime when Travis Duhammel gathered the ball on a takeaway and found Sean Mamos, who passed to Tyler Martel for the game-tying goal.

Martel scored three goals for the Tide, while Ian Scura also notched a hat trick and a pair of assists. Adam Resnick (two goals, two assists), Austin Erickson (goal, three assists) and Mamos (goal, assist) also had multi-point efforts, while Nick Zavorotny made 13 saves.

Hopkinton 10,
Laconia 6

The Hawks (7-0) continued their stellar start to the season, having scored in double digits in all but one game so far. Hopkinton led 5-2 at halftime and outscored Laconia (3-4) 4-0 in the third quarter.

Henry Merrow had an excellent game with five assists, while Bennett Mosseau scored four goals and added an assist. Austin Cowan (goal, assist), Evan Rudderman and Ben Thompson added goals, and Ned Metcalf was strong on face-offs and added two goals.


Hanover 25, Bow 14

Lindsay Reynolds scored seven goals, but the Falcons (1-6) had a tough time matching up with a Hanover squad that took an 11-8 halftime lead before upping its record to 9-0.

Amanda Murray, a freshman, added four goals in defeat for Bow.

Kingswood 15,
Merrimack Valley 3

Karra Hebert scored two goals to lead the offense for the Pride, which slipped to 2-6.

Lily Davis also scored for Merrimack Valley, which dropped its second straight after winning two of the previous three.


Bow 8,
Inter-Lakes 1

Bow improved to 8-0 with a home win over the Lakers (3-5). The Falcons swept the singles matches and won two of three doubles.

Going down the ladder in singles action with wins for Bow were No. 1 Evan Maccani (8-1), No. 2 Zach Zbehlik (8-0), No. 3 Harrison Beck (8-4), No. 4 Tim Bradley (8-0), No. 5 Ben Maurer (8-1) and No. 6 Nathan Louf.

In the doubles matches, the No. 1 duo of Maccani/Beck won 8-2, and the No. 2 team of Zbehlik/Bradley won 8-3.


Bow 9, Kearsarge 0

Sunday Swett didn’t lose a game in either singles or doubles, leading the Falcons (8-0) to the win. The Cougars fell to 1-7.

Swett won 8-0 at first singles and first doubles with Nisha Naik. Jess Torres (No. 2, 8-1), Laura Zbehlik (No. 3, 8-0), Kristie Smith (No. 4, 8-3 in a tight match with Kearsarge’s Sabrina Duquette), Alex Lust (No. 5, 8-1) and Paige Wilber (No. 6, 8-1) rounded out the singles victories, while doubles wins also went to Zbehlik and Lust (No. 2, 8-0) and Mary Lipscomb and Danielle Gould (No. 3, 8-0).


Bishop Brady third

Warren Bartlett won a pair of events to help the Green Giants to 18 points, good for third behind Kennett (86) and White Mountains (83).

Bartlett took the 1,600 (4:48.1) and pole vault (8-2), while Jake Boesch added third-place finishes in the 800 and 1,600. Michael St. Pierre was fourth in the 100 and 200, Chandler Robinson was fourth in the 400 and fifth in the 200 and David Rauseo was fourth in the discus and fifth in the javelin.


Bishop Brady third

Haley Parent won the triple jump and was in the top five in three events for Bishop Brady, which totaled 12 points to finish behind White Mountains (90) and Kennett (76).

Parent’s jump measured 29-8, and she was also fourth in the 800 and fifth in the 200. Josie Kliebenstein was second in the 200 and fifth in the 100, while Brooke Solomon was third in the 100 and fourth in the 200.

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