Eagles bounced in opening tournament game


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by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers

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IZZY WROBLESKI fires a throw across the diamond in action on May 31. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
June 05, 2017
NORTH CONWAY — A couple of mistakes in the field and a lack of punch at the plate made for a bad combination for the Kennett softball team in the first round of the Division II playoffs on Wednesday, May 31.

While many teams postponed their first round games due to the threat of rain, the Eagles and Merrimack Valley went on as planned and the Pride used a big sixth inning to push past the Eagles 6-2 and advance to the next round of the tournament.

"Unfortunately when you get to the tourney, if you don't play well, it's over," said Kennett coach Peter Ames. "To their credit, they came through with big hits when they needed to.

"We didn't pick a very good day to not play too well defensively," the Eagle coach added. "And we didn't hit and we've been hitting pretty well."

Kaitlyn Janos got the start in the pitcher's circle for Kennett and got two groundouts to third and a strikeout in the first inning. The Eagles also went down in order in the bottom of the inning.

The Pride got on the board in the top of the second inning. After an infield hit, a sacrifice bunt moved the runner up, despite a nice play from Hannah Tessier at third base. Janos got a strikeout for the second out but a base hit drove in the game's first run for a 1-0 lead. Janos then got another strikeout to end the inning.

Kennett answered right back in the bottom of the second inning with a run but they could not convert for any more runs.

Sam Johnson led off with an infield hit and then took second on a sacrifice bunt by Janos. An Izzy Wrobleski base hit tied the game at one and one out later, Olivia Stewart was hit by a pitch and Sara Tetreault walked to load the bases. However, the Eagles could not capitalize with any more runs and the game remained tied at one.

Janos surrendered a one-out double in the top of the third inning but escaped without any runs scoring, as Tessier at third and Cassidy Chick at first both caught pop flies. Tessier reached on an error to open the bottom of the third inning but she was gunned down trying to steal second and the rally was over as quickly as it started.

The first Pride batter of the top of the fourth was hit by a pitch and took second on a groundout. After a strikeout, a pop fly fell into shallow left field, allowing the runner to score and the Pride had the 2-1 lead.

Janos led off the bottom of the inning with a walk and then Wrobleski followed with a base hit. One out later, Janos was forced at third on a grounder by Stewart and a grounder to first ended the Kennett threat.

Janos worked around an infield hit in the top of the fifth, striking out a pair of Pride batters but the Eagles went in order in the bottom of the inning.

The Pride opened up the lead in the top of the sixth. The leadoff hitter reached on an error and then moved up on a sacrifice bunt. A walk put another runner on and they both took an extra base on a wild pitch. A base hit delivered one run and then a double delivered another run for a 4-1 lead. Another base hit plated the fifth run but the Eagles were able to cut down a runner at the plate on a good throw to Morgan Colvard at the plate.

Wrobleski was hit by a pitch with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning but she was stranded at first base. The Pride added a run in the top of the seventh inning. A pair of errors and another pop fly that fell in allowed the sixth run to score for a 6-1 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh.

With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Colvard ripped a shot over the fence in center field to cut the lead to 6-2. Tessier then worked a walk and Natalie Perry reached on an error. A Johnson walk loaded the bases, bringing the tying run to the plate. However, Janos grounded to shortstop, forcing Perry at third to close out the 6-2 win for the Grizzlies.

"We had our chances early, bases loaded and not scoring, we didn't execute a bunt," Ames said. 'We had some chances to open it up early and we didn't.

"And we didn't make plays at key times," the Eagle coach continued. "We came back and gave ourselves a chances but couldn't quite finish it off."

Ames noted that the intensity of the playoffs may have been a bit much for some of the younger players.

"I think the game was maybe a little big for some of us," Ames said. "We're still pretty young and that showed in a couple of situations."

The Eagles finished the regular season at 13-5 and earned the eighth seed in the tournament.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or sportsgsn@salmonpress.com.

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