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Timberlane upsets Concord, 4-1, for softball title

  • Concord's Rachel Stevenson, center, hugs teammate Jasmine Morin in the dugout after they were defeated by Timberlane 4-1 in the Division I girls' softball championship game held at SNHU on Saturday, June 8, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)

    Concord's Rachel Stevenson, center, hugs teammate Jasmine Morin in the dugout after they were defeated by Timberlane 4-1 in the Division I girls' softball championship game held at SNHU on Saturday, June 8, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Concord's Rachel Stevenson, center, hugs teammate Katherine Muzzey in the dugout after they were defeated by Timberlane 4-1 in the Division I girls' softball championship game held at SNHU on Saturday, June 8, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)

    Concord's Rachel Stevenson, center, hugs teammate Katherine Muzzey in the dugout after they were defeated by Timberlane 4-1 in the Division I girls' softball championship game held at SNHU on Saturday, June 8, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Concord's outfielder, Cassidy Emerson, throws the ball to the infield during Concord's 4-1 loss to Timberlane in the Division I girls' softball championship game held at SNHU on Saturday, June 8, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)

    Concord's outfielder, Cassidy Emerson, throws the ball to the infield during Concord's 4-1 loss to Timberlane in the Division I girls' softball championship game held at SNHU on Saturday, June 8, 2013.

    (JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Concord's Rachel Stevenson, center, hugs teammate Jasmine Morin in the dugout after they were defeated by Timberlane 4-1 in the Division I girls' softball championship game held at SNHU on Saturday, June 8, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)
  • Concord's Rachel Stevenson, center, hugs teammate Katherine Muzzey in the dugout after they were defeated by Timberlane 4-1 in the Division I girls' softball championship game held at SNHU on Saturday, June 8, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)
  • Concord's outfielder, Cassidy Emerson, throws the ball to the infield during Concord's 4-1 loss to Timberlane in the Division I girls' softball championship game held at SNHU on Saturday, June 8, 2013.<br/><br/>(JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff)

MANCHESTER – When Timberlane’s Madison Bishop blasted a two-run homer over the left field fence in the top of the first inning, Concord stayed confident.

When the Owls’ Christina Nye found the left-center field gap for a two-run double in the fourth, still the Crimson Tide was confident.

And even down to its final out, Concord thought it would come back. Heck, the tying run was at the plate and the Tide had battled back with its backs to the wall before this season.

But yesterday, when it mattered most, the timely hit never came. Concord, the No. 1 softball team in Division I, outhit No. 2 Timberlane, 10-7, but stranded 10 runners on base to fall in the championship game, 4-1.

“I was pretty confident,” Concord Coach Duke Sawyer said. “I have a lot of faith in this group. They’ve played so well and pulled out win after win all season.”

Concord (19-3) powered into the title game having lost just twice all season, and had beaten the Owls (19-3) in their earlier matchup. Perhaps because they didn’t see it coming is why it hurt so deeply in the end, leaving Concord’s six seniors in stunned sadness in the dugout.

“We did hit really well, but so did they,” co-captain Jasmine Morin said. “They just had the hits when it mattered.”

The first was Bishop’s towering homer with two outs in the first off starter Katie Kennard (four innings, four runs, six hits) after Masha Lange had singled sharply to left for an early 2-0 lead.

“I thought that we’d come back, but it really gave them confidence,” Morin said.

The second was Nye’s double, again with two outs, after a single by Ally Collins and a walk from Emily Barrett for a 4-0 lead.

“At 4-0 I was thinking this is going to be tough. Obviously I was starting to be a little worried,” Sawyer said. “But we had so many runners on base. We just weren’t getting them in.

“But credit their pitcher (freshman Kate Hoadley). She was good today. Any time you have 10 hits and only score one, she pitched well, and they played good defense.”

Hoadley threw a complete game for the Owls. She did scatter the 10 hits, but escaped jams time and again, leaving Tide runners in scoring position in five innings. Her only 1-2-3 inning was the fourth, when she struck out the side for three of her eight strikeouts.

“She remembered from the last game that we like the high pitches,” co-captain Amy Morin said.

“We wanted to hit so bad that we ended up swinging at stuff we shouldn’t have,” Jasmine Morin added.

Concord loaded the bases in the second after singles up the middle by Amy Morin and Molly Emerson and a walk to Meaghan Littlejohns. Hoadley threw three straight balls to the next batter, but after a visit from catcher Meaghan Bishop, she worked the count back full before Annie Mullen hit a sharp grounder back up the middle. Lange, Timberlane’s shortstop, charged hard across the middle and cut it down, throwing to first for the final out and maintaining the Owls’ 2-0 lead.

In the third, Kennard and Dani Morrill, who both went 3-for-4 in the game, hit back-to-back singles to begin the inning, but Hoadley struck out the next two batters before a hard line-out to center by Cassidy Emerson.

The Tide got its one run in the fifth on a single by Kennard and a double to right-center by Morrill, who also threw three innings of one-hit relief. But Hoadley left the runner stranded at second, and did the same in the sixth after Molly Emerson doubled.

Concord tried to rally in its final at-bat, with Katherine Muzzey leading off the seventh with a single, moving to second on a groundout and Morrill singling to center to put runners at the corners. But once again Hoadley got the outs when she needed them, working a pop-up to short and a fly ball to right to end it.

“I’m ready for a rematch right now. I wish I had one more year …” Amy Morin said. “These have been some of the four best years of my life.”

“These four years playing for Concord have been the best. I’ve loved every second,” Jasmine Morin said. “I’m so glad that Coach is our coach; he’s absolutely the best person. And I’m glad I got to end it with the teammates we had this year. We shouldn’t hang our heads about anything.”

“I’m proud of these guys, the season we had and what they accomplished,” Sawyer said. “I hurt for them, because I know they all really, really wanted this. … But we left it all out there. They’ll realize once the hurt goes away that they did all they could. It just wasn’t our day.”

(Sandy Smith can be reached at 369-3339 or ssmith@cmonitor.com.)

Legacy Comments1

This was a well played game, spirited and competitive. Neither team blew out the other one. No player made a critical error which determined the outcome. Each player brought her best to the game. Congratulations to both teams. It was a great game for the many spectators to watch.

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