High schools: MV softball escapes with win over Stark in D-II showdown

  • Merrimack Valley’s Alani Ramis (center, sunglasses) is congratulated by her teammates, including pitcher Sadie Barton (right) after making an unassisted double play to end Friday’s Division II softball game against John Stark and give the Pride a 6-5 win. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley’s Alani Ramis (right) is all smiles after she doubles up John Stark’s Sydney Nelson to end Friday’s softball game in Penacook. MV held a four-run lead going into the last inning and escaped with a 6-5 win after Ramis’s game-ending play. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 5/17/2019 10:38:18 PM

PENACOOK – Merrimack Valley senior Alani Ramis started three double plays on Friday against defending Division II softball champ John Stark. Ramis also finished one of those double plays, which also finished the game and Stark’s nine-game winning streak.

MV entered the top of the seventh with a four-run lead, but the Generals had already cut that lead to one and were looking for more when Ramis snared a line drive off the bat of Stark’s Anna Stenger. Ramis then dove to second base to double off Stark’s Sydney Nelson and seal a 6-5 win for the Pride (12-3).

“After it all happened I thought about that it was the third double play, but as it was happening my mind was blank, I just knew I had to get the out,” Ramis said. “I wasn’t thinking about anything else but getting the out and jumping on second base before (Nelson) did.”

The Generals (9-3) lost their first two games of the season, but then won nine straight before visiting Penacook on Friday.

“We made a bunch of mistakes today and gave up some unearned runs (three),” Stark coach Gerry Morin said. “If we see them again, we won’t make those mistakes again, I can tell you that, because these girls don’t like to lose.”

Stark still has four games left while MV has one remaining, so the standings will likely change, but as of Friday, MV is fourth in the D-II standings and Stark is fifth, which means they could very well meet in the quarterfinals.

“This is a big win for us,” Pride coach Sam York said. “As long as we can take care of Pembroke on Friday, this gives us a good shot of getting in the top four, which was our first goal of the season.”

MV lost to Stark earlier in the season, a 3-2 decision on May 1 in Weare, but the Pride’s confidence has grown since then. And MV established control early on Friday when Miah Boucher (2-for-3, double, three runs) reached on an error in the bottom of the first and eventually came home on a single from Lauren McLaughlin for a 1-0 lead.

Stark got one back in third against Merrimack Valley’s Sadie Barton (seven innings pitched, 11 hits, two walks, two strikeouts, three earned runs) when Izabella Nelson scored on a fielder’s choice RBI from Sarah Ferguson.

The Pride answered with four runs (two unearned) in the fourth inning on two walks, two hits, two passed balls and two wild pitches to take a 5-1 lead against Nelson. The Stark sophomore struck out 16 and gave up five hits in the May 1 victory against MV, but she struck out eight and gave up eight hits this time around against the Pride.

“We really put the ball on the bat a lot harder then we did the first time against Nelson,” York said.

MV added a run in the sixth when Boucher and Sadie Merrow (2-for-4, two RBI) hit back-to-back doubles. At the time it seemed like an insurance run, but it turned out to be the game-winner after the Generals rallied in the seventh.

Kali Kolehmainen (2-for-4) started the rally with a double to the fence, Elizabeth Aubin reached on an error, Izabella Nelson blooped a single to left to score one and Sydney Nelson lofted another single left to plate two more and make it 6-5 with no outs. Barton then got the first out on a comebacker to the mound before Ramis ended things with the unassisted double play.

“My heart was pounding at the end, I was even shaking a little bit. It was pretty nerve-wracking,” Ramis said. “But I’m very proud that we kept it together and got the job done.”


Concord 3, Spaulding 1

Key players: Concord – Abby Rochette (7 IP, 4 H, 7 K; 3-for-4, RBI), Sydney Plante (threw out runner at home from right field), Abby Corbett (threw out runner trying to steal), Autumn Nudd (2-for-3), Elizabeth Blinn (RBI double), Alice Rosenberg (RBI single)

Highlights: Rochette’s RBI double and Blinn’s RBI single, both with two outs in the seventh inning, broke a 1-1 deadlock, giving the Tide the victory in a rematch of last year’s Division I championship.

Coach’s quote: “Great game by both teams. Both dugouts loud. Every Tide player on defense touched the ball at least once and made the right play. Our pitcher-catcher combo (Rochette and Corbett) was outstanding.” – Concord’s Duke Sawyer

Records: Concord 12-3; Spaulding 8-4


Concord 8, Spaulding 4

Key players: Concord – Eric Sullivan (W, 4 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; 1-for-2 double, run, 2 walks), Ryan Merchant (1⅔ IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K), Zach Miles (save, 1⅓ IP, 0 H, 3 K; 2-for-4, 2-run triple, run), Tyler Bruns (2-for-3, run, RBI), Cam Thompson (2-for-3, RBI), Adrian Kennedy (RBI single), Trevor Smith (1-for-3, run, RBI), Kyle Hill (2-run double), Sean McDonough (run), Ronan McGonigle (run), Tyler Wright (run)

Highlights: The Tide got a big two-run double from Hill in the fourth inning and a two-run triple from Miles in the sixth to lift Concord to victory in its Operation Hat Trick game and maintain its spot at the top of the Division I standings.

Coach’s quote: “We had a couple of big hits and then a few clutch RBI today. We got good pitching from Eric Sullivan, Ryan Merchant and Zach Miles to secure the win. It was a great day celebrating our veterans on OHT day.” – Concord’s Scott Owen

Records: Concord 14-2; Spaulding 6-8

Merrimack Valley 5,
John Stark 4, 8 inn.

Key players: MV – Ben Rose (win, 2 IP; 2-for-4), Matt Ostrowski (2-for-4); John Stark – Austin Hazzard (5 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 7 K, 2 BB), Carter Pike (2-for-3, 2 runs, stolen base), Nathan Isabelle (RBI double)

Highlights: Ostrowski belted a long single to right field in the bottom of the eighth, scoring Matt Renfors from second base to give the Pride a walk-off victory and hand the Generals their first defeat of the season. MV jumped out to an early 3-1 first-inning lead, but Stark tied the game in the seventh. Rose, a freshman, earned his first varsity victory on the mound in relief.

Coaches’ quotes: “Great effort by both teams in a playoff like atmosphere.” – MV’s Sean Wheeler

“We fought hard today but were outplayed by MV. I liked how we came back twice, we just made a couple mistakes early that cost us. We also hit a lot of atom balls today, but that’s baseball.” – John Stark’s Dennis Pelletier

Records: MV 8-6; John Stark 12-1

Belmont 8, White Mountains 7

Key players: Belmont – Mike Sprague (win, 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K), Nate Sottak (1-for-2, 2 RBI, run), Jason Gaudette (1-for-3, 2 RBI), Austin Garrett (1-for-1, 2 walks, RBI, run)

Highlights: Coming to the mound trailing 7-4, Sprague kept the Spartans off the board the rest of the way with good location and a good mix of pitches.

Coach’s quote: “This was the definition of a character game. An uphill battle all day, we came together as a team and earned a win against one of the best pitching staffs in Division III. A good team win at the right time of year,” – Belmont’s Matt LeBlanc

Records: Belmont 12-2; White Mtns. 9-5

Concord Christian 2, Hinsdale 0

Key players: Concord Christian – Nicholas Ritchie (7 IP, 13 K, 2 H)

Coach’s quote: “Nicholas had great command of the strike zone all game. He did an awesome job of staying ahead in the count.” – Concord Christian’s Michael Syvertson

Records: Concord Christian 5-6; Hinsdale 7-8

Girls’ Tennis

ConVal 6, Pembroke 1

Key players: Pembroke Academy – Keelin Cripps (8-1 win at No. 6)

Records: ConVal 6-7; Pembroke 2-12

Oyster River 5, Coe-Brown 4

Key players: Coe-Brown – Addy Leifer (8-5 win at No. 3), Kira Nealburk (8-2 win at No. 4), Skye Loto (8-6 win at No. 5), Lily Libbey and Anna Principato (9-7 win at No. 3 doubles)

Highlights: The Bears did well at the bottom of the ladder, but the Bobcats picked up enough wins at the top to edge out a victory on Thursday.

Coach’s quote: “Came down to doubles matches in order to win. Oyster River has some strong players. Tournament starts next Wednesday ... possibly against Oyster River again.” – Coe-Brown’s Mark Struthers

Records: Oyster River 10-2; Coe-Brown 10-4

Girls’ Lacrosse

Kearsarge 14, Plymouth 7

Key players: Kearsarge – Erin Wheeler (12 saves), Emilie Webster (6G, 2A), Ally Wilson (4G, A), Megan Norris (3G), Ellie Camp (G), Caroline Camp (2A)

Records: Kearsarge 10-3; Plymouth 5-7

Boys’ Track

Coe-Brown 4th
at Seacoast Championships

Key players: Coe-Brown – Jonathan Thorn (2nd shot put, 2nd discus), Carter Sylvester (3rd 3,200), Luke Tkaczyk (4th 1,600), Sam Patteson (4th pole vault), Cayden Donaghue (tied 4th triple jump). Porter Heigis (5th 400, 6th 800), Dawson Dubois (5th 800), Logan Mihelich (5th 3,200), Wyatt Mackey (6th 1,600), Cody Tanguay (6th pole vault), 4x800 (1st), 4x400 (3rd), 4x100 (4th)

Highlights: The Bears won the 4x800 relay in 8:18 and Division II Coe-Brown scored 62 points as a team to finish fourth in the 11-team Seacoast Championships at Exeter. Division I teams took the top three places as hosts Exeter scored 156 points and Spaulding and Winnacunnet tied for second with 77.

Girls’ Track

Coe-Brown 8th
at Seacoast Championships

Key players: Coe-Brown – Addison Cox (1st 1,600), Natalie Roy (4th discus, 5th shot put), Abby O’Connor (6th 800), Tessa Millette (6th 3,200), 4x800 (3rd), 4x400 (5th)

Highlights: Cox won the 1,600 in 5:18, accounting for 10 of Coe-Brown’s 26 points, leading the Bears to eighth place at the Seacoast Championships. Host Exeter won with 141 points. Portsmouth (86.33) and Oyster River (71) rounded out the top three teams.

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