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Raiders can't string hits together in 4-0 softball loss to Laconia

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Belmont senior Kim Allen releases a pitch during the third inning of her teamís 4-0 loss to Laconia on April 16. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
April 24, 2012
BELMONT Ė The deeper the game got, the tougher the loss was going to be for either the Belmont High School or Laconia High School softball teams on April 16.

With the temperatures reaching into the upper 80s on an unseasonably warm day in the Lakes Region, the pair of winless squads traded zeroes on the scoreboard for the better part of the afternoon. But it was the visiting Sachems that drew first, and ultimately final, blood in the fifth inning. Laconia scored all four of the game's runs in the frame, and the host Red Raiders couldn't string together hits in the late innings en route to a 4-0 final that saw Belmont fall to 0-4 to start the season.

"We just couldn't put the hits together when we needed them," said BHS coach Bill Clary.

Belmont threatened throughout the game, beginning in the third inning. Rowan Harris reached on a slap single with one out and moved to second on a Kim Allen base hit. A wild pitch moved the pair up to second and third, but a pop out and ground out allowed the Laconia pitcher to get out of the jam unscathed.

While Allen took care of business in the circle through the first four innings, the Sachems finally got to the senior pitcher in the fifth. After Sam Phelps threw a Laconia runner out at the plate for the first out of the inning, Sue O'Brien drove in the first Sachems run on an RBI single to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Steph Smith followed with another RBI single and a two-run double two batters later had LHS ahead 4-0 when all was said and done. The damage could've been worse if not for a pretty 5-2-3 double play to end the inning that saw Britni Spaulding throw home for a force play and catcher Elizabeth Yelle gun down the batter at first.

Belmont came close to getting some of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth, as Harris again reach on a slap single and Allen followed with an infield single with one out. Spaulding hit a hard line drive to first base that was snared out of the air however, and the Laconia first baseman stepped on first for the killer inning-ending double play.

The Raiders had one runner reach in each of the last two innings offensively (Yelle single, Kylie O'Connell single), but the squad couldn't sustain any long rallies en route to the 4-0 defeat.

Yelle had a perfect three-for-three day at the plate with three singles to lead the Belmont offense, while Allen and Harris each had a pair of hits. But runners left on base have continued to plague the Raiders. The team had just come off a loss to Berlin that saw them leave 12 runners on base and saw more of the same against Laconia.

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