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Joyce Endee

Eagle girls win slugfest with Knights

ALLEY RIPLEY slides home with a run for Kingswood in the first inning against Kennett on Thursday, May 5. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
May 09, 2011
WOLFEBORO — The Kennett softball team needed to break out the big bats to battle past Kingswood last week.

The undefeated Eagles scored four times in the first inning to take an early lead, but Kingswood answered in a big way in the bottom of the frame, plating seven runs to take the lead back.

However, the Eagles were able to sustain their offense throughout the game, plating two in the second, two in the third, three in the fourth, four in the fifth and two in the sixth to pull away for a 17-10 win. Kingswood scored three times in the seventh for its final three runs.

"It was kind of a weird game," Kennett coach Peter Ames said. "They hit the ball well that first inning, they hit a lot of balls not to places where we could make a play.

"The good thing was we were consistent in coming up with runs each inning," he continued. "They did their damage in the firs and didn't score again until the last."

He noted that after the first inning, the balls seemed to find their way to fielders instead of into holes.

"The girls hit well," Kingswood coach Dan Chick said, noting the Knights pounded out 15 hits to Kennett's 12. "I was very happy with our offense, but it was one of those games where it would've been nice to get the win."

Chick noted that the difference was in the free base runners the Eagles were given by Kingswood. The Knights issued 11 walks, while Kennett's Whitney Roberts allowed just three. Kingswood made six errors to Kennett's three.

"That's the game right there," Chick said. "That's nine or 10 free base runners.

"The pitching and defense let us down in that game," he noted. "We did some really good things offensively, but we made mistakes and had innings where we gave them extra outs."

"We made some errors, but they also hit the ball well," Ames said. "They forced us to make plays we didn't make."

He noted that playing on an "open" field like at The Nick forced him to play his outfielders a bit deeper, which allowed balls to drop in, but he gave the Knights credit for hitting the ball well.

"I think they're a better team than they're record shows and we have to do the right things in order to win," he said.

Kennett got things started quickly against Kingswood's Emily Perkins in the first. Amber McPherson started with a bloop hit, but was forced at second on a grounder by Alyssa Chick, as Morgan Ekstrom made a nice play at short for Kingswood. One out later, Lauren White launched a long double to left that Alley Ripley almost made a spectacular catch on and Chick scampered home with the first run. Katie Bishop then walked and Sam Janos had an RBI base hit. Brie Roberts reached on an error, allowing both runners to score before Perkins got a strikeout to end the inning.

Kingswood didn't back down in the bottom of the inning. Ekstrom reached on an error to start the frame and on a bunt from Ripley, Ekstrom made it all the way to third. Megen Pollini reached on an error to load the bases and Leah Kenison lined a base hit to plate two runs. Brittany Roy followed with a double to bring home another run and two outs later, a Kylie Gautreau infield hit tied the game at four. Brittany Drapeau walked and Ekstrom doubled home a pair of runs in her second at bat of the inning. Ripley followed with a base hit to make it 7-4, but Brie Roberts robbed Pollini of a hit to end the inning.

Kennett came right back with two more runs in the second, as Kalin Samia reached on an error, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a Chick base hit. Chick scored on a White base hit to cut the lead to one and Kennett took the lead the next inning.

"The good side from our point of view is that we didn't get down," Ames said. "We just kind of plugged away."

"Our goal is still to see if we can make it to the playoffs," Chick said. "We have some winnable games in front of us. I'm hoping we can pull out some of those close games that we're just missing on."

Earlier in their weeks, the Knights fell to Coe-Brown by an 8-1 score and Kennett defeated White Mountains by a 7-3 tally.

The two teams will meet up again on Friday, May 13, in North Conway for a 4:15 p.m. game. Kennett heads to Coe-Brown for a 4:15 p.m. game on Monday, May 16, and hosts Merrimack Valley on Wednesday, May 18, at 4:15 p.m.

Kingswood hosts Pembroke at 4:15 p.m. on Monday, May 16, and Plymouth at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, and will host a makeup game with Souhegan at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 19.

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