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Nor'Easter 18U squad enjoying solid summer

by Bob Martin
Sports Reporter - Gilford Steamer, WInnisquam Echo, Meredith News

The 18 U Nor'Easter team has had a successful summer with a win at the Summer Sizzler in Brattleboro, Vt. Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
July 17, 2017
LAKES REGION —The 18U Nor'Easter softball squad has had a solid summer season thus far, with a runner up finish in the state tournament and a win in the Summer Sizzler in Brattleboro, Vt.

The team has a healthy portion of Lakes Region athletes, including Stevie Orton, Sarah Lachapelle and Jillian Lachapelle of Gilford High School. Lachapelle just finished her freshman year at the University of New England where she has been playing third base.

Other Lakes Region players include Cali Swormstedt of Laconia, who just finished her freshman season playing ball at Rivier College. Meeka Bolduc represents the Tilton School while Amanda Johnston and MacKenzie Ryan represent Newfound Regional High School.

Other players on the team include Josie Bentlage of Hamden Conn.., Brianna McGrath of Lisbon who has been playing at the University of Maine Farmington, Jacqui Hallisey of Gorham and Cait Malahan of Bishop Brady High School.

"We are doing really well," said coach Fern Beaudet. "We have a good group of girls on this team."

The Nor'Easters were runners up to the Lady Cannons of Concord in the N.H. States from June 16 to 18, when they lost a 7-6 nail biter after Lady Cannon runner was called safe on a play at the plate.

They followed that up with a win in Brattleboro the following weekend, when they entered a number two seed. They won two out of three games and then played three games on Sunday, ending up in the semifinals. The Nor'Easters moved on to the finals and beat the Vermont Cougars handily.

On the weekend of June 30 to July 2 the Nor'Easters played in the Mount Washington Valley Classic in Conway, but did not fare so well. They only played a couple games due to rain, and Beaudet said it didn't show how well they have been playing.

From July 7 to 9 the Nor'Easters played in the Turn 2 Tournament in Bow, and lost 4-3 in the semifinals to the Maine Thunder - a team that ended up winning the tournament.

Beaudet had high praise for the players from the Lakes Region. Orton has been playing part time for the Nor'Easters this year, as she has been working on her basketball skills for next season at Snow College as well as working a part-time job. She has been playing catcher and outfield for the Nor'Easters.

Orton commended Beaudet for his coaching, and also said she has liked how the team has played together this season.

While she will be playing basketball next year in college, Orton said it has been a quality experience playing organized softball for a final time.

"It keeps me active and my skills sharp, and it is a lot of fun," said Orton.

Beaudet recalled a game where she led off with a home run, and said she not only has some good power, but is a "great athlete and a great kid, as well."

Speaking of power, second baseman Jillian Lachapelle has been a force for the team despite battling a recent ankle injury.

"She is one of the most powerful hitters I've ever seen hit a ball," said Beaudet. "She can really hit, and she is our number four hitter."

Lachapelle said it is a great experience playing with college players and other older girls that she can learn from. She has been enjoying playing against players she normally wouldn't face at Gilford High School. Something that is new for Lachapelle is playing second base, and she said it has been fun to switch up positions.

Lachapelle said she has been very happy with the play of the team, saying they have come together over the course of the season.

Lachapelle's sister, Sarah, has been logging plenty of innings on the mound this summer. This is a change from her play at the University of New England where she was playing third base. Lachapelle is one of the top pitchers for the team, and also plays third base and second base.

"Sarah brings a lot of experience," said Beaudet. "She is a great player and comes with a good attitude."

Lachapelle said she had a great year in college despite being on a young team, and said it was a great experience going from there to summer ball where she can use her experience. She added that the level of play is high in the Nor'Easters, and she has been impressed by their play.

"This is by far my favorite team I've played on for summer ball," said Lachapelle.

Bolduc is a first year 18U player, but has plenty of experience at the Tilton School playing third base. She has been a big time offensive contributor in the fifth or sixth spot in the batting order, Beaudet said.

"Those four players have added a lot of offensive power to our team," said Beaudet. "They are all great hitters. We have a really good offensive team."

He also said Swormstedt brings great leadership to the team and is a great offensive and defensive player.

"She is our leadership in the field at shortstop," said Swormstedt. "Cali brings great energy."

Having these players who have played college, it brings the experience and leadership to the team to push the Nor'Easters to the level they have been playing.

For more information log onto noreastersoftball.org/18us.html.

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