At 6-1, KHS trails only Lebanon (6-0) and Portsmouth (6-0) in the standings. The top eight teams out of 19 will qualify for post-season play. Coe-Brown Northwood Academy is currently ranked eighth at 3-3.
"It's hard to believe that we're already halfway through, it seems like we just got started," Chris Bailey, Eagles' head coach, said, laughing.
The Eagles made hay over the school vacation week with a pair of victories (Kingswood, 6-3; and Coe-Brown, 5-4) and took care of business at Berlin.
"I expected it to be a close match with Kingswood and it was," Bailey said.
Junior Danny Macdonald, who was 4-1, rattled off seven straight games to win 8-5 in No. 1 singles.
Kyle Blakely, a sophomore, "has really matured as a player," Bailey said, " and he won 8-3.
Nick Sullivan won 8-3.
"Nicky is one of those kids who I would not want to play," Bailey said, laughing. "He wears you done and gets to everything."
Greg Miller lost 8-6; Lucas Tinkham fell 8-3; and Robert Schrader went down 8-0 to leave the match tied at 3-3 after the singles.
"We played great in doubles," Bailey said.
Macdonald/Blakely won 8-2; Sullivan/Miller won 8-3; and Tinkham/Schrader won 8-6.
"We go there Monday and know we're going to have to play well again," Bailey said.
Kennett, who traveled to Kingswood on Monday (results not known as of press time) have a busy week with three matches scheduled, weather-permitting. The Eagles remain on the road Wednesday at Plymouth (1-6) before closing out the week at home Friday (4 p.m.) when Manchester West (0-6) visits.
The win over Coe-Brown was a nail-biter.
"We expected it to be close and it came right down to the wire," Bailey said.
Macdonald lost 8-1; Blakely, who trailed 3-1, won 8-3; Sullivan won 8-0; Miller won 8-6; Tinkham won 8-1; and Schrader lost 8-2.
"Greg won a crucial match," Bailey said. "He was up 5-2 and then got down 6-5 and won three straight to win the match. That was the key match if you will. He's really starting to make a turn with his game."
In doubles, Macdonald/Blakely lost 8-1; Sullivan/Miller clinched the victory 8-2; and Tinkham/Schrader lost 8-3.
"This was one of those matches we talked about at the beginning of the season that we needed to win if we wanted to get to the playoffs," Bailey said. "If you'd have told me at the start of the season we'd be 6-1 at the mid-point I'd have been ecstatic. ...If we can have a good second half and finish 11-3 or 12-2 that should definitely get us in the tournament and probably in the four through six (seed) range."
In their lone match last week at Berlin, Kennett took care of things in the singles, winning five of six. Macdonald won 8-0; Blakely won 8-2; Sullivan won 8-1; Miller won 8-1; Tinkham won 8-6; and Schrader lost 8-2.
In doubles, Macdonald/Blakely won 8-3; Sullivan/Miller won 8-2; and Tim Avery/Tanat Ghanjai lost 8-3.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 04:26
FRYEBURG — After returning from a pre-season trip to Connecticut, the Fryeburg Academy softball program has opened its regular season with five straight wins. The Raiders barely escaped from Poland with a 2-1 win on April 20, but on Monday they followed their "flat" effort at Poland with a 4-1 win over Greely, their opponent last year in the Western Maine Championship.
In the Monday matchup, fans in Cumberland were treated to a match up of two perennial contenders and preseason favorites to make it to the state championship game. The Raiders prevailed 4-1 using speed, timely hitting and clutch pitching. Before the game, Coach Fred Apt urged the Raiders to be aggressive against standout Greely pitcher, Danielle Cimino. Apt wanted the Raiders to take their rips against Cimino, who rarely walks batters. Even with their aggressive approach, the Raiders only managed five hits and struck out eight times.
The Raiders appeared ready to play and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Maddie Pearson hit a line drive to center field, and when the fielder bobbled the ball, she sprinted to second base. Some shaky Greely defense and a pair of errors led to two Raider runs.
Greely made it 2-1 in the bottom of the first on a single on a walk and a sharp single after the runner advanced. The damage could have been worse, but Raider power pitcher Sarah Harriman struck out Cimino on a called third strike and left two runners in scoring position.
Catcher Carla Tripp reached base in the fifth inning when Cimino caught her jersey. Tripp advanced from first to third on a wild pitch, and Pearson plated Tripp with a ground ball to the right of the mound.
Fryeburg added another run in the sixth. Makayla Frost singled to left with two outs, and pinch runner Julia Quinn took second on a wild pitch. Quinn scored when senior captain Ellen Bacchiocchi ripped a double into the right-center gap.
Harriman battled the entire game and allowed four hits while striking out eight. Greely loaded the bases in the fourth, but Harriman struck out two to end the threat. Harriman then retired the side in order in the seventh.
In Poland on Friday, the Knights almost garnered some valuable heal points with an upset win over Fryeburg Academy, but the Raiders held on for a 2-1 win. The Raiders got on the board first when Tripp bunted for a hit to open the game. She promptly stole second, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on Kyle Locke's sacrifice fly.
The Raiders added another run in the third when Harriman singled. Their courtesy runner stole second and later scored when the Poland centerfielder misplayed a drive by Sydney Charles.
Poland nearly got on the scoreboard in the fourth when it struck for two hits and the Raiders contributed an error. Harriman, as she has shown an ability to do early this year, worked out of the jam and held them without scoring.
In the sixth inning Poland did push a runner across the plate. The Knights might have tied the game, but Fryebirg turned a double play to end the inning. In the bottom of the seventh the Knights ripped two hits and had runners on the corners with two outs. Harriman ended the game with a strike out. On the day, Harriman allowed six hits and a walk, while striking out nine.
The Raiders added two more wins at the end of last week. After thumping Lake Region 13-0 on Friday, the Raiders romped over Wells 12-3 at home on Saturday.
The Raiders fell behind to Wells 1-0 in the first inning. Meg Young singled and her courtesy runner crossed the plate on a double steal, but the Warrior lead did not last long.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Raiders bounced back with a vengeance with 4 runs. Two Wells’ errors, two wild pitches and a key Maddie Pearson single contributed heavily to the scoring. Lexi L’Heureux kept the onslaught going with a two-run, two-out single. An RBI single by Ellen Bacchiocci, a triple by Harriman and a RBI single by Locke were the key strikes in the four-run fourth, but the Raiders also demonstrated patience at the plate and capitalized on four walks and a hit batsmen to plate three runs.
Harriman struck out 14, walked two and gave up six hits on the mound against Lake Region. Locke was the only Raider repeat hitter, but Tripp earned three walks and scored a run.
On Saturday, Harriman one-hit Lake Region while striking out nine and walking one. Her dominance was unnecessary, however. The Raiders dropped 10 runs on the Lakers in the bottom of the first inning.
Harriman struck a two-run double and Charles slapped a two-run single to lead the Raiders. The Lake Region pitcher also walked 10 batters in the first inning.
In this case the merciful 10-run rule was appropriate as the Lakers showed no signs of offense and the Raiders completely controlled play. Locke added a RBI double in the third inning and Charles added another RBI single. Harriman and Charles were repeat hitters for the Raiders. Harriman’s no hitter was broken up by Laker Kalor Plummer.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 04:02
The Eagles beat Coe-Brown 3-2 on the baseball diamond, winning on a Nate Ela RBI double while pitcher Derek "Diesel" Roberts tossed a complete game gem striking out 13 Bears.
"It was a nice way to end it, it ended on a good note," Brian Day, Eagles' head coach, said.
With the win Kennett improved to 3-4 on the season in Division II while the Bears slipped to 3-3.
Coe-Brown, who used three pitchers (Brennan Riley, the first four innings, lefty Joe Anatone, the fifth and Andrew Lang, the last two) in the contest, struck for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning when McCormick Struthers and Riley had RBI doubles, but that was all Roberts allowed the rest of the afternoon.
"That's the best he's thrown so far this season," Day said. "He pitched very well. This was the Derek I was looking for at the start of the season. He had a very good fastball."
With Roberts on the mound, junior Mike Ellison went behind the plate and handled the catching chores well according to Coach Day.
"He threw out the first baserunner who tried to steal," he said. "Overall, he did a nice job."
Trailing 2-0, the Eagles pulled a run back in the bottom of the fourth inning. Nick Massa, who ripped a double, scored the run.
Kennett knotted the game in the bottom of the sixth inning and then set the stage for the fantastic finish.
David Darrigo got on base and Day opted to pinch run Shane O'Neil. O'Neil was able to get to second on a passed ball and sprinted home when Ela slammed the ball to left-center.
"It was nice to come back the way we did," Day said. "...We hit the ball a little bit and didn't take quite as many pitches as we had been doing; we're improving. Hopefully we can get on a little roll now."
The Eagles were in action Monday afternoon hosting White Mountains Regional (0-6 in Division III). Results were not known as of press time.
KHS is scheduled to close out the week Friday by entertaining Merrimack Valley (4-1) at 4 p.m. The Pride, who hosted St. Thomas (3-3) on Monday (results not known as of press time), also plays at Coe-Brown on Wednesday.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 03:57
The win lifted Kennett to 5-2 on the season and into sixth place in the Division II standings while Coe-Brown fell to 5-1 and dropped from first to third.
"This is a big win for us," Peter Ames, Eagles' head coach who is now just three wins away from 400 for his career, said. "We got behind early and could have rolled over but no one did. The girls deserve a lot of credit for battling back the way they did."
The visiting Bears took the lead in the second inning when they strung together six hits, none of which were hit all that hard, to score five runs. The big blow in the inning was a two-run triple that was just fair down the right-field line with two outs.
"I talked to Vonde (Saunders, starting pitcher for KHS) between inning and told her (Coe-Brown) is a good team, they hit the ball," Ames said. "For us to be successful we have to be able to throw a change-up (besides the fast ball)."
That move would dividends later in the contests.
Five runs looked like a bunch for Coe-Brown pitcher Kianna Daudelin, who appeared sharp from the outset, but the Eagles pecked away and made their at-bats count.
KHS made it a 5-2 game in the bottom of the third inning when Saunders, who reached on an error, scored on a two-out triple to left-field by Kaylin Samia. Lauren White nearly homered but settled for a run scoring double off the fence in right-center to plate the second run.
Coe-Brown threatened in the fourth inning getting two runners on base (on an error and a fielder's choice) with two outs. A Bear nearly beat out an infield hit to loads the bases, but shortstop Erin Milford unleashed her cannon arm to get the runner by a step to end the inning.
Kennett kept the momentum going in the bottom of the fourth, scoring two more runs. Gwynn McGinely, who was on base three times on the day including a triple, singled to centerfield with one out. With two outs Alyssa Thetreault got a slash hit that resulted in a throwing error to put runners on first and third. Saunders delivered a clutch RBI single to make it 5-3 and two pitches later Thetreault scored on a wild pitch.
The Bears looked certain to score a run in the top of the sixth when they loaded the bases with one out and had their clean-up hitter at the plate.
Back to the change-up.
"I think the turning point came in the sixth inning with the bases loaded, their clean-up hitter up and the count was 2-1," Ames said. "Then Vonde threw the change-up; she made a great pitch. The batter reached out and popped it up and we got the double play."
The ball was popped up in foul territory midway between first base and home. White, playing first base, charged in and made a terrific lunging catch and quickly saw a Bear halfway down the third baseline. She threw to third and McGinley stepped on the bag for the out keeping it a one run ball game.
"The big thing is Vonde was able to make that pitch at that time, it was the key," Ames said. "Everyone did what they needed to on that play and we got out a jam."
The Bears got the Eagles to go quietly in the bottom of the sixth inning and were three outs away from remaining undefeated.
The bottom of seventh inning had everything a good action movie needs: suspense, excitement and a hero at the end.
Saunders and Jordan Murphy both got on base to start the inning. Samia appeared to beat out an infield hit to load the bases, but Murphy was called out for allegedly interfering with the path of the second baseman. Instead of bases loaded and no outs, KHS had runners on first and second and one out.
White followed with a slow grounder to second, but the umpires called interference again alleging that Samia got hit by the ball. Now with two outs and runners again on first and second, Moore stepped to the plate. She crushed a 1-1 pitcher that rolled to the fence in right-center with Saunders and White making it home for the win.
"Jordyn got a nice hit and that finished it off," Ames said. "She had a great at-bat, that's her big hit of the year so far. ...It all ended up working out great, it's a big win."
The Eagles were on the diamond Monday (results were not known as of press time) when they hosted hosted defending Division III state champs White Mountains Regional, who sits atop the DIII standings at 6-0. The Spartans boast arguably the top high school pitcher in the Granite State in Erika Millett. She pitched a perfect game with 17 strikeouts out of 21 batters in a 9-0 victory over Mascoma on Friday.
Kennett is scheduled to close out the week on Friday (4 p.m.) when it hosts Merrimack Valley (2-2).
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 03:51
CONWAY — As the weather warms up Jeff Locke is also heating up. The talented left-hander picked up his second straight win in the longest start of his Major League career and ran his scoreless innings streak to 13 when the Pittsburgh Pirates blanked the St. Louis Cardinals 9-0 at Busch Stadium on Sunday.
Locke, from Redstone, scattered three singles over seven strong innings (his first time pitching seven innings in his brief big league career) and the bullpen closed out the victory which vaulted the Bucs (15-0, having gone 8-2 over the last 10 ball games) atop the National League Central standings.
Locke began the season as the Pirates' No. 5 starter, but is now clearly No. 4 on the depth chart at the moment, supplanting Jonathan Sanchez.
With the win, Locke, a 2006 Kennett High graduate and the son of Pam and Alan Locke, of Redstone, improved to 3-1 on the season in four starts and lowered his Earned Run Average from 3.74 to 2.82. This season, he has pitched 28 2/3 innings; allowed 23 hits; 9 earned runs; 4 home runs; walked 13; and struck out 16 while holding opponents to a .228 batting average.
The shutout victory was the fifth of the season for the Pirates, tied for the most in the National League with the Cardinals and San Francisco Giants .
A lot of other notable achievements were attached to this win: It was the Bucs' 15th of April, matching the franchise's all-time first-month record, and No. 700 of Clint Hurdle's managerial career.
"(The win) means I've been blessed with the opportunity to do this for a while -- but you don't talk about the other number, which is bigger," said Hurdle, referring to the 808 losses and thus deferring the day's pedestal to Locke.
Locke gave a salute to his manager after pitching seven innings of three-hit ball.
"It's special to be the guy on the mound that day," Locke said. "I was awfully happy for him, and it's not the last one."
Following up on his six shutout innings in Tuesday's 2-0 win in Philadelphia, the new Locke remained on display in Busch Stadium, where he limited the Redbirds to three hits while walking two and fanning four.
"Locke pitched a great game. Getting my pitcher putting up scoreless innings gets us in a place to win, and if I do something offensively, it's a plus," said catcher Russell Martin.
Martin launched two of the four homers that helped the Bucs improve their record to 15-10, matching the April record for most wins set by the 1992 club's 15-5 start on the way to the organization's last finish on the happy side of .500 and in the playoffs.
The Cardinals lost consecutive games for the first time this season, managing just 11 hits. They didn't get much going against Locke after some hard outs the first time through the order.
"It looked like good things were going to be coming the second time through," manager Mike Matheny said. "He mixed it up, kept us off-balance, and just shut us down."
Locke got some early defensive support from McDonald, who received the start at shortstop and made back-to-back sparkling plays in the third inning. First, he drifted into short left-center for a twisting, over-the-shoulder catch of Matt Carpenter's popup. Next, he speared Carlos Beltran's up-the-middle smash and spun around for a precise throw to first.
"Something had to change execution-wise," said Locke, thinking of the 5.17 ERA he had taken into his previous start against the Phillies.
"Just getting ahead of guys, and let them put it into play somewhere and let the defense work. ..."Confidence and execution," Locke said. "A lot of sinkers today, trying to keep them off balance."
His teammates may have seen Locke mature as a pitcher right in front of their eyes within the last week. In those two starts and those 13 innings, the 25-year-old lefty has allowed just five hits and struck out 10.
Locke's next scheduled start is set for this Saturday in Pittsburgh when the Pirates host the Washington Nationals (13-12) and their ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg (1-4, 3.16 ERA) at 4:05 p.m.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and ESPN contributed to this story.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 03:47