It was a tough day for the Moultonborough Academy Panthers, who were beaten 12-0 by Sunapee in the Division 4 quarterfinals. Sunapee went on to win the Division 4 title.
Bob Martin. (click for larger version)
June 12, 2017PLYMOUTH — It was unfortunately a sour end to what was otherwise a fantastic season for the Moultonborough Academy softball team, where the Panthers lost in a mercy rule shortened game to top ranked Sunapee in the semifinals of the Division 4 playoffs.
It was a tough matchup for the Panthers, who had to face the Division 4 Player of the Year Katie Frederick on the mound. The bats didn't get going at all, and Sunapee managed to take advantage of uncharacteristically sloppy fielding by Moultonborough.
One silver lining is that it took the best team in Division 4 to knock off Moultonborough, as they went on to beat Derryfield 1-0 to take the championship on June 10. Sunapee has now won three straight titles, including one back in 2015 where they defeated Moultonborough in a season where Frederick was also the player of the year.
Jill Tatro was on the mound for the Panthers and she had trouble early with the potent Laker offense giving up three runs in the first inning. However, it was the poor fielding that led to most of these runs, with two errors and a passed ball.
They tacked on four more runs in the second inning but this was more to the tune of quality hitting by Sunapee. Three out of the first four hitters of the inning had singles. An error on a bloop into the outfield led to Sunapee going down 5-0 in the game and another run scored when there was a collision in the outfield due to miscommunication.
More sloppy fielding led to the seventh run of the game and the Panthers appeared to be frustrated with their play. It didn't help that Frederick was shutting down the Panther offense with ease.
In the bottom of the fourth the Lakers tacked on three more runs to make it a 10-0 game. The dugout became quiet but in the fifth inning the Panthers showed signs of life with their first real scoring opportunity of the game.
After a Frederick struck out the first batter, Madison Richardson walked and then advanced to second on a passed ball. With two outs and Richardson on third, Alexa Price was called out at first on a swinging bunt that was fielded perfectly by the Sunapee catcher.
The Lakers went on to score two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and the game was called due to the mercy rule.
Coach Tom Dawson said after the game that this was not a great representation of the type of softball the Panthers had been playing this season, but nonetheless it was a tough loss. He also gave credit to Sunapee, saying they are a great all around team.
"Last night what you saw was clearly not what my team usually plays like," said Dawson. "Certainly you're not going to beat a team like Sunapee when you commit six errors. My defense has been solid all year. I don't know if it was nerves or what."
Dawson said a positive of the game was that by switching back and forth between Tatro and Allie Taylor on the mound he was able to hold their one through four hitters to only five singles on the day. He also said they only let up two doubles on the day, so it was more about the fielding than the hitting. Dawson also said it would have been nice to get the bats going, but it was exceptionally hard against a pitcher like Frederick.
Dawson said after some of the core senior starters from last year graduated, not many people expected Moultonborough to do much this year. He was happy to prove wrong the nay sayers, and despite the tough loss, he is proud of the way the Panthers played all season.
"I knew what we had and we all knew what we had," said Dawson. "We all believed in ourselves. To finish the season 15-4 overall, I'm happy with that. I, as well as the team, are very looking forward to next year."
Dawson said it will be tough losing Tatro and Richardson but he is confident they will still be contenders next spring.
"We'll do what we do and come back with another solid team next year," said Dawson.