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Suncook girls come home third


10U softball team turns in strong performance in New England Regional Championships



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BRIANNA BURLEY slides home with a run against Londonderry on Friday, July 30. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
August 02, 2010
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Suncook Valley 10U softball girls made their presence known at the New England Regional Championships in Pittsfield, Mass. this past weekend, but in the end The Storm was a bit too much to overcome. The Souhegan Valley Storm that is.

The New Hampshire Southern District champions handed coach Rob Carpenter's girls both of their defeats in the double elimination round of the tournament, ending Suncook Valley's run with a third place finish among the eight teams competing for the title.

Suncook Valley opened the tournament against Revere, Mass. on Friday, July 30, and right off the bat things were intense, as the two teams needed extra innings to come up with a winner.

Suncook scored once in the first inning, but Revere plated two in the second to take a 2-1 lead.

Suncook came back in the third inning with two runs to pull ahead 3-2. A double from MacKenzie LeBlanc, a walk to Olivia Langevin, a bunt from Katie Slock and a base hit from Brianna Burley helped Suncook plate the two runs.

Revere tied the game with one in the bottom of the third inning, but in the top of the fifth, Suncook took a 4-3 lead, as Avree Carpenter plated Langevin with a base hit.

Revere tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning and the two teams stayed tied until the top of the eighth inning.

With two outs, Ali Brown tripled to right field and scored on a double to left by Maddison Rabideau. MacKenzie Burke drew a walk, but both runners were stranded. However, Suncook had the 5-4 lead.

Carpenter, who came on to pitch in the third inning, struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth to give Suncook the 5-4 win to open the tournament.

Game two

After finishing the first game of the tournament, Suncook had a short break before taking the field against Londonderry in the tournament's second game. Burley took the ball in the pitchers' circle for the local girls and walked the first batter. However, Carpenter threw the runner out trying to steal and though she walked two more batters, Burley also struck out two to get out of the inning without any trouble.

The Suncook bats came alive quickly, as they plated five runs in the bottom of the first.

Langevin walked and moved up on a base hit by Slock. A passed ball plated the game's first run and a wild pitch made it 2-0. Carpenter followed with a walk, took second on a wild pitch and stole third. She scored when Burley reached on an error. After Ali Brown walked, a double steal moved both runners up and a wild pitch and an error led to both runners crossing the plate for a 5-0 lead. Kelly Wagner walked but she was stranded as the inning came to a close.

Burley walked the leadoff batter in the top of the second and the runner came around to score on a passed ball, but the Suncook hurler also struck out the side, keeping her team up 5-1.

Suncook tacked on a trio of runs in the bottom of the frame. Langevin led off with a walk and stole second. She came all the way around to score on throwing errors and it was 6-1. Slock walked and Carpenter doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Burley walked and Burke drew a walk to plate Slock. A wild pitch scored Carpenter and the local girls were up 8-1.

Rabideau took over the pitching duties in the third and surrendered a couple of base hits and a pair of walks that allowed two runs to score, but she also stranded a pair of runners as Carpenter caught a foul pop up to end the inning.

Langevin reached on an error with one out in the third and Carpenter followed one out later with a base hit to left, however, the Londonderry leftfielder made a great throw and gunned down Langevin heading to third to end the inning.

Rabideau surrendered a base hit and a walk in the fourth, but she also struck out two and again left both runners stranded when Burke made a nice grab at second base to end the inning.

Rabideau and Ryley Marston both drew walks in the bottom of the inning, with Melissa Stowell running for the Suncook pitcher, but both runners were stranded and the lead remained 8-3.

Carpenter made a great catch on a foul pop behind home plate for the first out in the fifth and Rabideau took care of the rest, striking out the next two batters. After Suncook went in order in the bottom of the inning, Londonderry had one final chance.

Rabideau struck out the first batter of the sixth, but the next two walked. A base hit to center field followed, but the trail runner was forced at second base. The lead runner took off for home and beat the throw, but Carpenter gunned a throw to Langevin at second base to cut down the batter trying to take an extra base and the game came to a close with an 8-4 Suncook win.

Game three

Suncook returned to the Gerald S. Doyle Memorial Park the next morning for the final game in the round robin portion of the tournament. Both Suncook and Stamford, Conn. had sealed their berths in the double-elimination portion of the tournament with two wins on Friday, so when the two teams met up Saturday morning, only seeding was at stake.

Suncook threatened right away against the eventual tournament champions. After Carpenter sent Stamford down in order in the top of the first, Langevin led off the bottom of the inning with a walk. One out later, Carpenter reached on an error and stole second, putting runners on second and third with one out. However, the next two batters struck out, ending the threat.

Stamford used a couple of Suncook miscues to plate the game's first run in the second inning. After a leadoff walk, a pair of wild pitches allowed the runner to score. Carpenter walked the next batter, but struck out three of the next four hitters to get out of the inning without any more runs scoring.

Suncook went in order again in the second and in the top of the third, Stamford added a run, again taking advantage of Suncook miscues. This time a pair of errors and two wild pitches led to a run. Carpenter did strike out the side to keep her team in the game.

LeBlanc walked to open the bottom of the third and she took second on a grounder back to the mound by Langevin. LeBlanc moved to third on a grounder to second by Slock and Carpenter followed with a bunt hit to plate her teammate and make it a 2-1 game.

Stamford added a run in the fourth, as a double, a wild pitch and a bunt hit pushed across their third run.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Rabideau walked, but was stranded when Wagner was robbed of a hit by the Stamford first baseman.

Carpenter surrendered a two-out hit in the top of the sixth, but Burley ended the inning by throwing out the runner trying to steal second and Suncook struck back in the bottom of the fifth.

With one out, Langevin walked, but she was thrown out stealing second. Slock reached on an error and Tiffany White took over on the bases, advancing to second on a wild pitch. Carpenter followed by lining a shot to right that eluded the Stamford fielder. Carpenter circled the bases to tie the game at three.

A Suncook error allowed the leadoff batter to reach in the top of the sixth, but she was forced at second on a grounder to short. However, a stolen base and an error allowed the second batter to come all the way around with the go-ahead run and Suncook went in order in the bottom of the sixth, giving Stamford a 4-3 win and one of the top seeds in the double-elimination portion of the tournament.

Game four

Six hours after falling to Stamford, Suncook returned to action against the other top seed, Souhegan Valley and their impressive pitcher, Taryn Collins.

Both teams went in order in the first inning, with Burley striking out the side for Suncook in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the second, Suncook plated two runs. Burley walked to open the inning. She stole second and took third on a wild pitch. Brown also waked and stole second. Two outs later, an error on a throw back to the pitcher allowed Burley to score and Brown came in on a wild pitch for a 2-0 Suncook Valley lead.

Burley walked the leadoff batter in the bottom of the second, but then struck out the next three batters to get out of the inning.

Slock reached on a two-out base hit in the top of the third, but she was stranded. Burley struck out two more Storm hitters in the bottom of the third and also caught a line drive back to the mound, making her responsible for all nine outs of the game.

Suncook went in order in the top of the fourth and Souhegan finally found a way to get on the board in the bottom of the frame.

The inning opened with an error and a double plated Souhegan's first run. A pair of walks and a pair of wild pitches tied the game and after another strikeout (Burley's ninth of the game), a wild pitch gave Souhegan a 3-2 lead. Another wild pitch made it 4-2 and after a walk, another wild pitch sent a runner to the plate. However, Carpenter tossed to Burley who applied the tag for the second out of the inning. Another wild pitch made it 5-2, but the rally ended when a Souhegan runner left first early, the only out not recorded by Burley in the first four innings.

Suncook went quietly in the top of the fifth and in the bottom of the inning Rabideau took over the pitching duties. She made a nice play on a line drive back to the mound and the infield made its first play of the game when the next batter grounded to Langevin at short. After a walk and a stolen base, a double made it 6-2, but Rabideau got her team out of the inning with a strikeout.

Langevin opened the sixth with a walk and a wild pitch moved her to second. She took third on a groundout by Slock and one out later, raced home on a wild pitch to make it 6-3. Burley walked, but was stranded as Stamford took the 6-3 win, sending Suncook Valley to the losers' bracket.

Game five

The first game in the losers' bracket for Suncook came against the other second seed in the double-elimination portion, the host Berkshire Force.

The Force came out of the gate in the top of the first inning and struck for a run against Carpenter for a quick 1-0 lead.

Carpenter had a two-out base hit and Burley walked in the bottom of the first, but both runners were stranded.

The game moved along pretty quickly from there. Carpenter hit a batter in the second inning, but she was stranded. Burke walked in the bottom of the second, but was also stranded. Slock made a great catch through the sun in center in the top of the third inning and Brown made a nice pick of a low throw at first base in the top of the fourth inning. Burley also threw out a runner stealing second in the top of the fourth.

Suncook finally got on the board in he bottom of the fourth. Burley led off with a double and scored on a base hit by Brown to tie the game at one. Suncook threatened for more, as Burke was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base. However, LeBlanc was robbed of a hit by the Force right fielder, ending the inning.

Burley cut down another base runner in the top of the fifth and in the bottom of the fifth, Suncook had the game's best chance for runs.

Langevin opened the frame with a bunt hit and stole second. Slock followed with a base hit, but Langevin was thrown out trying to score. White ran for Slock at first and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Carpenter. Burley walked and Brown beat out an infield hit, however, White tried to scamper home and was tagged out by the Force catcher, ending the inning.

Rabideau and Brown turned in solid defensive plays in the top of the sixth and Carpenter got her ninth strikeout. In the bottom of the inning, both Rabideau and Stowell walked, but both runners were stranded as the Force pitcher recorded a pair of strikeouts.

Burley came on to pitch in the seventh and surrendered a walk, but struck out two batters as well to keep the Force off the scoreboard.

Slock led off he seventh with a base hit and took second on a passed ball. Carpenter reached on an error and a passed ball put both runners in scoring position. However, the only run that mattered was Slock, and she broke for home on a wild pitch, scoring the winning run for a 2-1 victory, assuring Suncook at least a third place finish in the tournament.

Game six

Suncook returned to the field on Sunday morning and opened the new month against Souhegan Valley, with Collins again handling the pitching duties.

Souhegan took care of business, winning by a 10-0 score in four innings.

"We had tired girls and we were a little short on pitching and we ran into the hardest thrower down there," coach Carpenter noted. "It was a little bad luck that we had to face her twice."

The Suncook coach praised his team for an incredible season, noting that hundreds of teams started the season and his girls were one of the last three standing.

"The girls had an awesome season," he said. "To be in every single game shows what talented players they are."

He also pointed out that his girls had Stamford, the eventual champions, on the rope.

"The team that won it all, we had them right there," he said. "If we were able to steal that game, maybe we're on the different end of the stats.

"A bounce here and a bounce there kills you," he added.

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

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