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Wildcats walk off with a win

Prospect girls fall in play-in game at Fall Mountain

by Joshua Spaulding
Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise and Baysider

CATCHER Amelia Sweezey prepares to tag a Fall Mountain base runner during the Division III play-in game Sunday. The runner was safe on the play. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
May 28, 2012
LANGDON — In a game that featured a grand total of five walks, it was seemingly unlikely that two of the biggest plays in the game would be bases on balls.

Welcome to Langdon, where cows graze next to the high school softball field and the unlikely takes place.

The Prospect Mountain softball team made the long trek across the state to the Upper Valley Sunday for the Division III play-in game against the Fall Mountain Wildcats and the two teams walloped the ball all day long before a couple of walks made the difference in the final few innings.

In fact, there were only nine strikeouts for the entire game (including four by Prospect reliever Chelsea Tierney in the final two innings) and the five aforementioned walks, as both teams brought their hitting sticks to their Sunday afternoon tilt.

The Timber Wolves tied the game at six on a bases loaded walk in the top of the sixth inning, but then surrendered the game-winning run on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving the Wildcats the chance to enter the Division III tournament.

"They played well, they kept their heads up," said Prospect coach Gordon Bilodeau. "We just couldn't seal them off."

The Prospect coach was pleased that the girls kept fighting back when the hosts took the lead, but noted it was tough to stay even.

"We kept coming back and tied it, then they'd come back and score again," Bilodeau said. "But I'm very happy with the way the girls played."

Out of the gate, the Timber Wolves got themselves on the board with the bats coming out on fire. After Ella Montminy's screaming liner back through the pitcher's box was snared by the Fall Mountain hurler, Shannon Meyer launched a triple off the centerfielder's glove. Laura Fraser then reached on an error to plate Meyer with the game's first run. Brooke Burley also reached on an error, but both runners were stranded on a grounder to third.

Montminy made a nice snag of her own on a hot liner to third to open the bottom of the first and Prospect starter Brooke Burley got a strikeout and pop out to end the inning.

Alexa Hingston reached on an error in the top of the second, but she was stranded and the Wildcats were able to tie the game in the bottom of the inning, getting a hit and a sacrifice fly to plate the run.

Prospect came right back with a run in the top of the third. Meyer doubled and Fraser again reached on an error when the throw to first hit her in the back, allowing Meyer to score the go-ahead run.

Fall Mountain again came right back in the bottom of the inning. A base hit, double and wild pitch tied the game and a walk and groundout pushed another run across before an error allowed the Wildcats to take a 4-2 lead.

Alexa and Anna Hingston both had hits to open the top of the fourth, but they were both stranded on the bases. Burley gave up a walk in the fourth but kept the Wildcats off the board and Prospect came back to tie the game in the top of the fifth.

Fraser walked to open the inning and Burley put down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Sahara Brown followed with a pinch hit base hit and a squeeze by Meghan Stackhouse pushed a run across to cut the lead to 4-3. Alexa Hingston then reached on an error to tie the game at four.

Once again, Fall Mountain had an answer. A walk and base hit with two outs put a pair of runners on and a bloop hit just over the outstretched glove of Kirby Beranger at second base pushed across another run. The next batter lined a shot that caught Burley square on the leg, allowing another runner to score. Burley finished out the inning but her leg was changing color by the time the game came to an end.

Prospect battled back in the top of the sixth. Montminy walked to start the inning and took second on a wild pitch. Beranger then moved her over with a grounder to short and she scored on a base hit by Meyer to cut the lead to 6-5. Fraser reached on an error and one out later, Brown did the same to load the bases. Stackhouse then drew a walk to push the tying run across the plate.

Tierney came on to pitch in the bottom of the sixth and struck out the side, working around a walk. Prospect couldn't get a runner home in the seventh despite putting Anna Hingston on base with a bunt hit to open the inning. She took second on a wild pitch and moved over on another sacrifice groundout by Beranger, However, she was stranded at third, leaving the Wildcats with the chance to win it in the seventh.

With one out, a walk, a base hit and an error loaded the bases. Tierney got a strikeout for the second out, but a walk pushed the winning run across and the Wildcats had the 7-6 win.

Bilodeau was impressed with how Tierney threw, despite the tough loss.

"Chelsea threw the best she's thrown all year," the first-year head coach said. "She looked like she really wanted it."

Bilodeau was disappointed that the team's season was over, but he stated he was proud of the way the team played in what turned out to be his team's final contest.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at sportsgsn@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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