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Tough first inning knocks Eagles from tourney

JORDAN MURPHY gets back into first base during action against Hollis-Brookline on Saturday in North Conway. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
June 06, 2011
NORTH CONWAY — Any fans who arrived a few minutes late for Saturday's Division II softball quarterfinal game in North Conway missed all the fireworks.

The eighth-seeded Hollis-Brookline Cavaliers scored four runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back, dealing the top-seeded Kennett Eagles a 5-1 loss and knocking the Eagles from the tournament.

Kennett's powerful offense, which had been pounding out hits and runs all year, managed just one hit on the afternoon against Cavalier hurler Kirsten Bergen.

"When you only get one hit, it's pretty hard to score runs," Kennett coach Peter Ames said. "We just didn't hit, we didn't put the ball in play."

He noted that while the Cavaliers had some big hits in the first inning, it likely wouldn't have been enough to get them past the Eagles had Kennett's bats come out of the bag with some hits.

"They didn't hit the ball enough to beat us if we hit the ball (as usual)," Ames said. "We hit all year, we just didn't do it today."

The Cavaliers came out swinging in a game that started about 10 minutes before the scheduled 4 p.m. first pitch and the Hollis-Brookline bats were on fire in the first.

Alyssa Chick made a nice grab of a long fly ball to center by the first Cavalier hitter, but the next one worked a walk and the third hitter took a Whitney Roberts offering and deposited over the fence down the left field line for a 2-0 lead.

That was followed by a bloop hit and a double to put two runners in scoring position and a base hit to left scored both of those runners for a 4-0 lead. Roberts got out of the inning by striking out the next two hitters, but by that point, the damage was done.

Kennett got one of those runs back in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs, Sam Janos walked and scored on a long double to right by Brie Roberts.

Kalin Samia led off the bottom of the third with a walk, but was forced at second, as was Amber McPherson, who forced Samia, keeping any rally at bay.

Hollis-Brookline added a run in the top of the fourth, thanks to a little sun action. The leadoff hitter popped a ball to center that Chick appeared to have lined up, but the Eagle senior lost the ball in the bright sun and it fell for a base hit. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runner up, a base hit up the middle scored the fifth run for the visitors.

Kennett threatened in the bottom of the inning. Lauren White led off reaching on an error, but was forced at second on a groundout by Katie Bishop. Janos also reached on an error, but Bishop was caught in a rundown between second and third on a great play by the Hollis-Brookline catcher for the key second out.

Whitney Roberts walked with one out in the sixth, but courtesy runner Jordan Murphy was stranded on first. Brie Roberts walked with one out in the seventh, but was also stranded as the Eagles couldn't push anymore runs across.

"The top of the order was hitless," Ames said. "If they don't get on base, there's nobody to drive in. Your chances to score get pretty slim."

While the Eagles hit the ball well all year, when they needed the hits, they weren't there.

"It was not a good day to not have any hits," Ames said. "It's always disappointing if you don't win the last game."

Kennett finished the regular season at 15-1 and was the first seed in the tournament, besting Trinity in the opening round.

The Cavaliers went on to face Goffstown in the Division II semifinals Tuesday in Manchester.

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