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Suncook girls take home state title

Team will play in regional tournament in Pittsfield, Mass. beginning July 30

THE SUNCOOK VALLEY All-Stars pose with their championship trophies Sunday in Meredith. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 19, 2010
MEREDITH — To say that Rob Carpenter had a little faith in his team might be an understatement.

After his team won the district title the weekend of July 10 and 11, the Suncook Valley 10U softball coach went online to check out accommodations for the regional tournament, which will be held in Pittsfield, Mass. beginning July 30.

And that was before his team had even played one game in the northern state championship tournament, which took place this past weekend in Meredith.

Carpenter's girls made sure his faith in them was well-founded, as they made short work of their competition in the state tournament and captured the title with an 11-6 win over Barrington on Sunday, July 18.

Suncook opened the tournament with a bye in the first round, meaning the girls didn't have to play until Saturday morning, July 17, when they took on Colebrook.

Suncook plated one run in the third inning, as Maddison Rabideau doubled in Brianna Burley to get Suncook on the board.

They added four runs in the fourth inning. MacKenzie LeBlanc and Olivia Langevin drew walks and a double by Katie Slock and Burley plated three runs. Ali Brown followed with an RBI base hit and Suncook was on their way to a win.

Walks to LeBlanc and Langevin again got Suncook started in the fifth inning and Slock drove them both home with a base hit. In the sixth, base hits from Ryley Marston and Melissa Stowell and walks to Tiffany White and Langevin helped plate two more runs and Suncook took the 9-1 win. Burley pitched five innings and gave up just the one run while striking out five. Avree Carpenter closed out the game, pitching the final inning.

The win put Suncook in a rematch with Barrington, a team they had beaten in the District Three championship.

Carpenter took the ball for Suncook Valley and set the Barrington girls down in order in the first, striking out two and getting a popup to second base.

Suncook then plated two runs in the bottom of the inning. Langevin led off with an infield hit and took second on a wild pitch. Slock walked and Carpenter reached on an error on a bunt, plating Langevin with the game's first run. Burley then followed with a grounder to second, scoring Slock to make it 2-0.

Carpenter worked around a walk in the second, striking out the side in the process, but Suncook couldn't take advantage of a White walk to lead off the bottom of the second, as a double play ended the inning.

Brown, playing first base, and Rabideau, playing third, both made solid defensive plays in the top of the third inning to help keep Barrington off the board and Suncook added on to their lead in the bottom of the inning.

Slock reached on an error with one out and Stowell took over on the bases. A pair of wild pitches moved her to third and a Carpenter base hit made it 3-0. A stolen base and an error allowed Carpenter to race around with the fourth run and after a walk to Burley, Rabideau reached on an error to plate another run and give Suncook a 5-0 lead.

Barrington finally got on the board in the fourth, as a pop up fell in for a hit and a bunt hit and passed ball led to a run. However, Carpenter did strike out the side to limit the damage.

Suncook went in order in the bottom of the fourth, but Carpenter pitched around a walk in the top of the fifth, again striking out the side.

Suncook added a run in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Burley knocked a base hit and took second on the throw into the infield. She advanced on a passed ball and scored when Brown reached on an error, making it 6-1.

In the top of the sixth, Barrington made things interesting against Rabideau, who started the frame in the pitcher's circle. A base hit and a triple led to one run and a walk led to Burley taking over the pitching duties. She struck out the next two batters, but a walk and a passed ball made it 6-3. However, the righty struck out the next batter to close out the game at 6-3 and send Suncook into the championship game the following afternoon.

As it turned out, the championship game was another rematch with Suncook and Barrington, as the Barrington girls played their way into the finals with a win over Berlin.

In the early going, it looked like Suncook would have no problems cruising to the championship, but Barrington made things competitive later on.

Langevin opened the game by reaching on an error, but a double play eliminated the quick Suncook threat.

Burley started in the pitcher's circle for Suncook and struck out the first two batters she faced and set the side in order in the bottom of the first.

Suncook got on the board in the top of the second inning. Burley reached on a base hit to start the frame and advanced to third on an infield hit by Brown. Rabideau then grounded out, but Burley scooted home and it was 1-0 in favor of Suncook.

Burley walked the leadoff batter in the second, but settled down to strike out the side and Suncook added another run in the top of the third.

With one out, Langevin beat out an infield hit and took second on an error. She moved up to third on a passed ball and scored on a base hit by Slock for a 2-0 Suncook lead.

Burley struck out two more Barrington hitters in the bottom of the third and in the top of the fourth, Suncook appeared to break the game open.

Brown led off the inning with a double to left and Rabideau walked. LeBlanc hit a grounder back to the mound, forcing Brown at third and Kelly Wagner also hit one back to the mound. Her grounder advanced the runners to second and third and a bloop hit down the right field line by Stowell plated both runners for a 4-0 lead. Langevin followed with a base hit and Slock's base hit made it 5-0 in favor of Suncook before the inning ended.

Barrington got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. A walk and a passed ball and an error allowed one run to score, but the Suncook girls killed the rally, as the Barrington runner who reached on an error to plate the run was gunned down on a great throw from Carpenter at first as she tried to take second base, ending the inning.

Suncook added a run in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs, Rabideau reached on an error and stole second. She scored on a base hit by LeBlanc, making it 6-1.

Barrington finally woke up in the bottom of the fifth inning. Four consecutive walks to start the inning plated one run and an error led to two more runs crossing the plate. A double steal pushed across a fourth run, making it 6-5. After a strikeout, a double tied the game at six and a sacrifice grounder put a runner on third with two outs. As Burley went to pitch, the ball slipped from her hand and the runner broke for home. Langevin, at shortstop, alertly grabbed the ball and fired to Brown, who applied the tag to cut down the potential winning run at the plate.

White got things started for Suncook in the sixth with a one-out walk and went all the way to third on a sacrifice bunt by Langevin, but she was stranded there and the score remained tied.

Carpenter took over pitching duties in the sixth and the first two batters against her reached. She followed that up with a strikeout and Burley caught a runner trying to steal third base for the second out. After another walk, a strikeout ended the frame and sent the two teams to extra innings.

In the seventh, Suncook's bats returned to life. Carpenter beat out a bunt hit to start the frame, but she was caught stealing. Burley's pop fly fell behind third for a hit and Brown's bunt was thrown away, allowing Burley to score and Brown to move all the way to third. Rabideau followed with an RBI groundout to short for an 8-6 lead. MacKenzie Burke walked and Wagner had a base hit. Back-to-back walks to White and Langevin forced home another run for a 9-6 lead and Slock lined a base hit to plate two more, stretching the lead to 11-6.

Rabideau entered to pitch the seventh and got a grounder to start the inning then gave up a base hit. A great catch by Langevin on a popup behind shortstop was the second out and a grounder back to the pitcher ended the game, giving Suncook the 11-6 win and the northern district state championship.

The next step for the Suncook Valley girls is the regional tournament, which will take place in Pittsfield, Mass. beginning on July 30.

The Suncook Valley roster includes Olivia Langevin, Katie Slock, Avree Carpenter, Brianna Burley, Ali Brown, Maddison Rabideau, Tiffany White, Kelly Wagner, MacKenzie LeBlanc, Melissa Stowell, Ryley Marston and McKenzie Burke. The team is coached by Rob Carpenter, Rick Burley and Charlene Burke.

Martin Lord Osman
Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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