Tennis Eagles have busy week, weather-permitting

By Jean LeBlanc

BERLIN — The Berlin girls' tennis team rolled to its sixth straight win of the season shutting out the Kennett Eagles 9-0 on
May 1 in Conway.

Berlin is currently 6-0 and the top team in Division III, while Kennett is 0-4 on the season in Division II.

In singles action, top seeded Audrey Coulombe was an 8-2 winner over Olivia Couture; No. 2 seed Myra Arsenault defeated the Becca Lees 8-4; senior Emily Theriault bested Liz Davis 8-2; Rylie Binette won 8-1 over Abby Acone; Julie Downs swatted her way past Alex Samule 8-1; and sophomore Haley Coulombe rolled to an 8-1 win over Abby Tepe.

"Another match in the rain," said Berlin Coach Andy Rancloes. "The match started about 30 minutes late. When we got there the courts were under water. We worked along with Kennett players to get the courts ready. We ended up getting three of the six safe to be played on. The girls worked hard. Audrey took over from the start. Her serves were right on the mark. Myra was down early but she made some in-game adjustments and was successful. Emily is starting to turn it on. She is hitting the ball hard and playing smart."

In doubles action, Berlin continued to hold serve. Top seeded Mountie duo A. Coulombe/Arsenault defeated Kennett's Couture/Lees 8-1; Theriault/Downs were 8-0 shutout winners over Davis/Acone; and completing the perfect day were Binette/H. Coulombe 8-0 over Samuel/Tepe.

Kennett, with just two players returning from last season, has a bunch of newcomers to the sport. Coach Jacques Couture's troops have been learning as the season unfolds. Unfortunately the recent rainy stretch has played havoc with the schedule for the Eagles, and, more importantly, limited the amount of practice time outdoors, something Couture had been hoping for."

The Eagles ran into two solid opponents last week, falling 9-0 at arch-rival Kingswood (2-4) on Wednesday, and 9-0 at home to undefeated Portsmouth (7-0).

Kennett was scheduled to travel to Northwood to play Coe-Brown Academy (7-2) on Monday. Results were not known as of press time.

Also this week, the Eagles are slated to travel to Durham on Tuesday to play Oyster River (6-1); Wednesday, they'll host a doubleheader with Kingswood at 3 p.m. and Plymouth (4-3) at 4:30 p.m.; and Friday play at Trinity (1-5).

 

Eagles slug their way past Bow

CONWAY — The Kennett High softball team went 2-1 last week to guarantee the Eagles will finish the season with a winning record. The hometown flock remains in the running for a top four playoff seed.

The Eagles scored a 13-1 road win over Bow in six innings (due to the 12-run mercy rule); walked to a 17-3 victory over Oyster River in five innings (mercy rule) at home on Wednesday; and fell 3-2 in 13 innings at Plymouth on May 15.

Kennett is now 11-4 on the season and in fifth place in the Division II table. The Eagles trail Souhegan, 11-1; Goffstown and Pelham, both 12-2; and defending champs Milford, 11-3. Coe-Brown Northwood Academy, Plymouth, and Pembroke are all 10-4.

This year, 15 teams will qualify for post-season tournament play in Division II, based on the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association's 70 percent playoff participation goal. This means the top team in standings will garner a first round bye while the other 14 teams will play in the opening round of the tournament, which is slated to begin next week. In previous years, 16 team have participated in the playoffs with the top four teams earning first round byes.

"The standings are pretty bunched up at the moment," said Peter Ames, Eagles' head coach. "There are six of us all right around four loses. If you lose one now, you could go from fourth or fifth all the way to 10th or 11th. I think Division II this year is pretty evenly matched."

Of Kennett's four loses this spring, three of those have come in extra innings.

The latest extra inning loss was at Plymouth. The two teams locked up in a pitcher's duel. Kaitlyn Janos pitched all 13 innings for the Eagles, allowing one earned run, while striking out 11.

The Bobcats scored the winning run in the bottom of the 13th when a runner scored all the way from first on a misplayed fly ball in the outfield.

Kennett quickly rebounded from that setback and had no trouble with Oyster River (0-11). The Bobcats has all the trouble with their pitching. The Eagles had just two hits on the afternoon, but in an exercise in patience, took advantage of 20 walks.

Sophomore Olivia Stewart silenced the Bobcat bats, scattering four hits, while striking out seven.

The KHS bats were in full swing mode at Bow (2-11) on Friday. The Eagles pounded out a season-high 15 hits.

"It was a good win," Ames said. "We hit the ball pretty well, so it was good to see. (Bow) is having a bit of a down year this season. The big difference between them and Oyster River is the Bow pitcher threw strikes and it was about the right speed to hit."

Ames also tinkered with the batting order slightly by moving senior Morgan Colvard into the leadoff spot. The talented catcher immediately responded. She belted a triple in the first inning that would have cleared the fence if the Falcons had one. Without a fence, the ball is able to roll for days unless it goes into the woods and becomes an automatic ground-rule double.

"Morgan really had a pretty good day," Ames said. "She had three hits and really should have had four. Her last time up she hit the ball probably 300 feet in the air. The outfield turned and kept running, finally throwing her arm up in the air she made an off-balanced catch. She crushed it. It would easily have been out at Kennett."

Ames said Cassidy Chick and Natalie Perry both hit well with three hits apiece. Chick had one base knock roll into the wood for a double when she could have easily turned it into a triple or a home run. Perry clocked a triple in the victory.

Janos kept the Bow bats in check by pitching a two-hitter. She walked two and struck out six over five innings.

"We played pretty well," Ames said. "We had some base running errors early on and gave up a couple of runs."

KHS scored three runs in the first inning; one in the third; two in the fourth; three in the fifth; and four in the sixth inning.

Kennett was in action Monday, hosting Merrimack Valley (9-5). Results were not known as of press time.

The Eagles are scheduled to travel to Durham to play Oyster River on Wednesday, and close the book on the regular season on Friday (4 p.m.) when Berlin (5-8) comes to town for Senior Day. Prior to the game, the Eagles will recognize seniors Morgan Collard, Kaitlyn Janos and Allison Solomon for their commitment and dedication to the program.

Kennett won its first meeting with Berlin 1-0 on April 28 in the Paper City.

 

Track Raiders are ready for Western Maine Championships

By Lloyd Jones

FRYEBURG — The Fryeburg Academy boys' and girls' track teams will compete in the Western Maine Conference Championships at Lake Region in Naples this Saturday.

"This will be a great meet as the entire league comes together for a great time," said Kevin McDonald, Raiders' head coach. "If you have never been to a track meet or are a longtime fan of track and field please stop by and cheer all the student athletes on. I promise there will be a lot of great action.

Fryeburg traveled to Sacopee Valley in Hiram on May 18 for a four-school meet with Lake Region, St. Doms and the host Hawks.

"The meet had a start time of 6 p.m., couple that with finals week and a school night, that led to a very diminished team," McDonald said. "In fact, we took a total of 11 athletes and with our unified members we totaled 15. With 19 events in a track meet, this was a tough one. "

Highlights for the boys included: senior Christian Bedell having a very productive night.

"Leaving his trademark, the 800 meters, Christian ran the 100 (fourth, 12.94), 200 (first, 24.84) and the 400 (first, 54.54) meters," McDonald said. "Not only is he our fastest 800-meter man he now owns the fastest times in the 100, 200 and the 400. Quite a night for this our only senior."

Junior Ben Caffery threw a personal best 32'10" to finish fourth in the shot put.

"Ben has been our workhorse all year and now is seeing the fruits of his labor," McDonald said. "We are very happy for Ben as he continues to improve in all three throws events.

Highlights for the girls included sophomore Kyleigh Rose enjoying her evening in the throwing events.

"Kayleigh had a fantastic evening with three personnel bests in the shot put (fourth, 29'9"), javelin (fourth, 59'10") and discus (fourth, 66'9')," McDonald said. "Very nice to see Kyleigh have a breakout day. A pleasure to have on the team and a model of what a teammate should be."

Sophomore Jessica Frum continued to improve in the race walk, edging ever closer to a sub 10 minute time, winning the race in 10:19.30.

"Jessica's form has improved throughout the season and we look for faster times in the near future," McDonald said.

Sophomore Olivia Plekie met the A standard in the 200-meter dash.

"Olivia asked if she could scratch the 400 and focus on the 200," McDonald said. "Having already met the standard in the 400 meters, I said yes if you meet the A standard in the 200. Having never run under 28 seconds, Olivia ran 27.44 (to win the race). Needless to say we are overjoyed for this young lady. One of our captains is showing the way for the younger sprinters."

 

Raiders swep the week; Apt gets 200th win

By Lloyd Jones

FRYEBURG — It was a good week for the Fryeburg Academy softball team. Not only did the Raiders notch three wins to move into second place in the Class B South Heal Point rankings, but they capped the week off in style, collecting win No. 200 for head coach Fred Apt.

The win, a 4-1 victory against Sacopee Valley (8-3) in Hiram, on Saturday, was No. 200. A short celebration followed with players, parents and community members embracing Apt.

"It's nice to say, 'Hey, I got 200 wins,' but it also means I've been coaching a long time," Apt said after the game, but also stressed to the players on his team, that the's been "blessed over the years with girls that have dedicated a lot of time and effort to succeed."

The gils also deserve praise for buying into what Apt, assistant coach Chris Dutton and staff have been teaching and preaching about the program. Apt expressed how happy he was to have this team now and how happy and excited he feels they have become a team and what could might be ahead.

"Speaking to me he was very humble," Dutton said, "but he really wants to make it about the girls, and the team. They are what make the program run and succeed. The support of the community, ranging from parents, to fellow students and friends have been simply awesome.

Along the way to the 200 wins, the Raiders have appeared in five straight State Championships, winning three of them.

Asked what word best describes Apt, Dutton was quick to say "accountability."

"Fred's old school," he said, "and he's big on accountability. When he says he wants to make the program about the girls, he means it. One of Fred's favorite quotes, is 'If I demand 110 percent out of you, you should demand 110 percent out of me.' He always treats every player the same way, the kids see that and appreciate how much he cares."

On Saturday, Fryeburg got off two a quick start by scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Makayla Cooper and Kaylee Emery each drove in a run, and that was really all the offense senior pitcher Nicole Bennett needed. She cruised through the first three innings. The lone mistake she made came in the fourth when Jordan Miner belted a home run to cut the lead in half.

The Raiders created a little breathing room for themselves in the top of the seventh inning. Apt turned to Madison McIntyre, or as the team calls her 'Maddy Mac,' to pinch hit and light a spark for the girls from Fryeburg. She responded with a base hit. She was able to tryout home a few pitches later when Mackenzie Buzzell belted a towering bomb over the left field fence for a two-run tater, giving the Raiders a 401 lead.

Fryeburg outhit Sacopee 10-4 on the afternoon. Buzzed, Bennett and Emery each had two hits for the Raiders.

Bennett went the distance on the mound, scattering four hits, while walking one and striking out 12.

On Thursday, the Raiders hosted and slugged their way to a 15-7 victory over Yarmouth (10-2). The Clippers beat the girls from Fryeburg 5-1 in Yarmouth on May 5, handing the Raiders their first loss of the season. The home side was fired up from the outset to avenge that setback.

Fryeburg broke the game open early with two runs in the bottom of the first and then the girls hung an eight on the scoreboard in the second inning.

"Coach Apt was pretty adamant about being focused early and not only starting strong, but needing to finish strong," Dutton said.

Kristina Leblanc started the scoring for FA by knocking in Buzzell with an RBI single in the first.

In the second inning, Buzzell went yard again with a three-run homer over the left field fence.

Trailing 10-1, Yarmouth managed to rally to make it a ball game by scoring six runs in the top of the fourth to pul within 10-7, but the Clippers got no closer.

Fryeburg responded with a five-run sixth inning to put the contest away. Highlighting the outburst were an RBI single by LeBlanc and a two-run double by Cooper.

The Raiders pounded out 16 hits, led by Leblanc and Cooper, who both had three hits.

Fryeburg opened the week on Wednesday with a 9-0 blanking of Freeport (1-9) on the road. Bennett spun a one-hitter, walking two, while fanning 11. She took a perfect game into the sixth inning.

The Raiders, who had 14 hits on the afternoon, scored a pair of runs in the third inning and added six in the top of the fourth. In the third, Chloe Coen walked and scored on an RBI double by Buzzell. Bennett platted Buzzell with a single.

In the fourth inning, Coen, McIntyre and Buzzell drove in runs.

Bennett lost the perfect game in the sixth inning, and then the no hit bid in the seventh on a clean base hit to center.

Cooper led the hit parade with three, while Buzzell ended the day knocking in three runs on two hits.

Fryeburg is scheduled to host Gray (5-5) on Wednesday (4 p.m.); travel to Poland (6-6) on Thursday; host York (3-8) on Memorial Day, Monday (4 p.m.); and close the book on the regular season, June 1 (4 p.m.), when Cape Elizabeth (5-5) comes to town.

Fryeburg trails only Wells (12-1) in the Heal Points, but owns the lone blemish on the Warriors' record.