KHS Spring Sports Awards are June 13

CONWAY — The Kennett High School Athletic Department will hold is annual Fall Sports Awards on Tuesday, June 13, at 5:30 p.m. The award presentations will be held in the Loynd Auditorium.

A presentation of the major awards will be given by the coaches of all of the fall teams. Family and friends of the athletes are invited to join in congratulating the award winners from each team.

A presentation of sports letters for each team will follow the awards ceremony in separate rooms.

Come join the teams and their coaches to acknowledge the hard work and accomplishments of all of the Kennett athletes.

 

Smith cools down Fryeburg's bats in the finals

By Lloyd Jones

FRYEBURG — Good pitching can often stop good hitting, but when a team faces great pitching, the chore becomes almost impossible on the softball diamond. That's what happened when Fryeburg Academy met defending state champs Old Town in the Class B State Championship game at St. Joseph's College in Standish, Maine, on Saturday night.

Junior pitcher McKenna Smith was sensational, striking out 19 Raiders to lead her Coyotes teammates to back-to-back state titles with the 2-0 win. Old Town did not allow a run in any of its four playoff games.

"She was just awesome," said Fred Apt, Raiders' head coach. "She threw a rise ball that we couldn't stay off, and her curve ball must have broke 16 inches. We struck out 19 times and we've never struck out 19 times. (Smith) was lights out."

The girls from Fryeburg gave it everything they had and made Old Town work to retain its crown. The Raiders also got great pitching from senior Nicole Bennett, who struck out nine. Both Coyote runs were unearned.

"Nicole kept us in it," Apt said. "We had a few chances, but (Smith) pitched a great game."

Fryeburg's Mackenzie Buzzell, who was named Western Maine Conference Player of the Year last week, led off the game by reaching on an error. She was left stranded as Smith struck out the side on her way to fanning seven straight Raiders. Fifteen of Fryeburg's strikeouts were from swings and misses.

The Raiders best scoring opportunity probably came in the third inning when Grace Condon drew a one out walk. Buzzell came to the plate and laced shot earmarked for the fence and extra bases along with the game's first run, but the Coyote left fielder was able to make a fine catch to keep the game scoreless.

Old Town got all of the offense it needed in its half of the third inning, scoring twice. A Coyote singled to open the inning and went to third on a misplayed fly ball to the outfield. After a stolen base put runners on second and third, Old Town scored on a sacrifice fly. The Coyotes added a second run by beating a throw home from first after a strikeout.

Old Town (18-2) outhit Fryeburg (16-4), 7-3 on the night.

"We battled right to the end," Apt said. "I couldn't be prouder of this team. I told the girls afterwards, this one game doesn't define you or our team. What defines you is that you never quit."

This year's team is Nicole Bennett, Breanna Burnell, Mackenzie Buzzell, Emily Carty, Chloe Coen, Caroline Condon, Grace Condon, Makayla Cooper, Jade Currier-Graffam, Maddie Darling, Kaylee Emery, Ali Fraize, Brooke Juneau, Kristina LeBlanc, Madison McIntyre and Paige O'Connell.

Fryeburg, which was in the finals for the first time since 2012, earned its spot in the Class B State Championship by winning three close contests and playing great softball. The Raiders hosted and beat No. 6 seed Gray (11-7), 3-1 on June 8 in the quarterfinals.

On June 10, the girls in blue hosted No. 7 Morse (13-6), which upset No. 2. Oak Hill (13-4), 9-4 in Wales on Thursday. Fryeburg held off a late rally from the Shipbuilders, winning 5-4.

Freyburg staged a comeback for the ages, scoring four runs in the top of the seventh inning to beat No. 1 seed Wells 6-4 in the Class B South Regional Final at St. Joe's last Wednesday.

The Raiders will lose four seniors — Bennett, Buzzell, Cooper and Allie Fraize to graduation, but has a wealth of experience returning next year.

"Those four are pretty special," Apt said. "They'll be hard to replace because they've meant so much to the program.

Apt will have the opportunity to coach Bennett, Buzzell and Cooper one last time. The trio have been selected to play in the Senior All Star Game at Cony High School in Augusta on Thursday at 7 p.m. There were also named to the Western Maine All Conference First Team last week.

Leblanc, a sophomore, isn't done playing just yet, either. She has been chosen to play in the Maine State Underclass All Star Game on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. The talented shortstop was also named a Second Team All Western Maine Conference All Star.

"It's nice when you see your players recognized," Apt said. "You see what they mean to your team every day, but when other coaches see and appreciate your players, it means a lot."

Apt said this was a special season.

"I want to thank all the members of the Fryeburg softball team and the parents for making this such a special season for the coaching staff," he said.

 

Eagles honored at 2017 Spring Sports Awards

By Lloyd Jones

CONWAY — The Kennett High School Athletic Department held its annual Spring Sports Awards last Tuesday before a good-sized crowd in the Loynd Auditorium.

Neal Weaver, athletic director, served as master of ceremonies for the evening and praised, athletes, parents and coaches for their dedication and commitment to Kennett athletics

Athletes and parents were treated to a slide show — created by Mackenzie Murphy, with images supplied by Josh Spaulding — that captured the Eagles in action this spring to Van Halen's "Jump."

The presentation of the major awards were given by the coaches and a presentation of sports letters for each team followed the awards ceremony in separate rooms.

This year's athletic award winners were:

The Jack Burns Memorial Baseball Award was presented to Aaron Lamar while the newly created David "Doc" Walker 10th Player Baseball Award went to freshman Riley Fletcher.

Kennett finished the season 2-16, but opposing umpires and coaches see the Eagles making strides.

No. 1 Portsmouth won the Division II championship by topping No. 2 Souhegan, the defending state champs 5-0 on June 17 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester.

The Eagles lose two seniors to graduation in Aaron Lamar and Kaleb Pepin.

In softball, Kaitlyn Janos and Morgan Colvard received the Softball Award.

The Eagles went 13-5 during the regular season and secured the No. 8 seed, hosting a playoff game.

Coach Peter Ames was proud of the Eagles this season.

No. 4 Milford repeated as state champs by beating No. 6 Pembroke 3-2 to win the Division II championship at Southern New Hampshire University on June 17.

The Eagles lose three seniors to graduation in Alison Solomon, Morgan Collard and Kaitlyn Janos.

The Boys Tennis Award went to Willie Alber for the second year in a row.

The Eagles went 4-8 on the season, but lost three tough 5-4 matches. Had the ball bounced its way and Kennett won those, it would have been in the playoff chase.

Defending champs Lebanon, the No. 1 seed, won the Division II championship May 30, topping No. 2 Portsmouth 7-2 at Bedford High School.

The Eagles lose just one senior, Will Synnott, to graduation.

Olivia Couture received the Girls Tennis Award, while Jasmine Schmidt received the Sportsmanship Award.

Kennett finished the season 1-13, with the lone win coming by forfeit. The Eagles, who had just two players back from last year, had a host of first-time players on the squad this spring. Coach Jacques Couture said the girls improved each time out and praised his troops for their enthusiasm.

No. 2 Windham topped No. 1 Portsmouth 5-4 to claim the Division II championship on June 1 at Bedford High School.

The Eagles lose Rebecca Lees, Olivia Couture, Liz Davis and Jasmine Schmidt to graduation.

In Lacrosse, Dennis Morgan received the KHS Lacrosse Award. Morgan was also named an Academic All America, one of nine named in the Granite State this spring.

The Eagles finished 2-12 for the regular season in their third season in Division II.

Coach Alec Frankel believes the team is heading in the right direction with a host of young players returning to the nest in 2018.

No. 2 seed Derryfield cruised past No. 4 seed Portsmouth 7-4 on June 10 to win the Division II championship at Bill Ball Stadium in Manchester.

In Track, India Drummond, Zoe McKinney, Johnathan Caputo and Noah Dubois received the Track and Field Award.

The Don Trimble Track Award went to Selena Gauthier, Chloe Van Dyne, Noah Lautenchlagher and Nick Whitley.

The Eagle lose a number of seniors off this year's squad of roughly 85 athletes. Among them are Johnathan Caputo, Will Davis, Thomas Welch, Noah Lautenchalger, Sam Sawley, Cain Drouin, Matteo Lentini, Logan Hagerty, Noah Dubois, India Drummond, Zoe McKinney, Nick Whitley, Ashley Vajentic, Selena Gauthier and Sara Ghobashi.

The KHS girls team won the Wilderness League Championship this spring while the boys were fourth.

A memorable year for the Kennett High track team was highlighted last month when the Eagles hosted the prestigious Division II Track and Field Championships for the first time to rave reviews.

Nine seniors (matching last year's total) — Tanner Brown, Will Davison, Matteo Lentini, India Drummond, Zoe McKinney, Noah Dubois, Michael Welch, Nick Whitley and Jonathan Caputo — were recognized for being three sport athletes during their four years at Kennett, it's an award the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association created eight years ago. The Eagles received hooded sweatshirts for their accomplishments.

 

Raiders rally late to book spot in finals

By Lloyd Jones

FRYEBURG — "I'm still not sure it happened."

That's what Fryeburg Academy softball coach Fred Apt said Wednesday morning after his team rallied from from a three-run deficit in the seventh inning to beat top ranked Wells 6-5 in the Class B South Regional Final at St. Joseph's College in Standish, Maine, on Tuesday night.

"I've never been involved in a comeback like that in the seventh inning on either side," Apt said. "Chole (Coen) said she didn't want the season to end yet — I'm good with that."

"It was like you were just numb and you kept waiting for (the comeback) to happen," said Chis Dutton, Raiders' assistant coach. "It was pretty incredible. Something I'll never forget."

After the top ranked Warriors scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 5-2 lead, the Raiders went quickly one-two-three in the sixth inning. It looked like this just might not be the third seeded girls from Fryeburg's night.

The Raiders, who handed Wells its only loss during the regular season, winning 4-3 in Fryeburg on May 9, had just two hits heading into the seventh inning as pitcher Anya Chase was dealing. Trailing 5-2, Apt's troops never gave up.

"The good thing was we had Nicole (Bennett) and Makayla (Cooper) leading off," Dutton said. "I thought if we could just get those two on, who knows, something could happen."

Bennett opened the seventh with a base hit. Fellow senior Ali Fraize came on to pinch run for her. Fraize went to second on a wild pitch and scored when Cooper singled to second, cutting the deficit to 5-3.

Kaylee Emery followed with a single to right-center, but Cooper was thrown out by a step at third base. Emery went to second on the play and scored when Paige O'Connell singled sharply up the middle to bring Fryeburg to within a run at 5-4.

After Brooke Juneau beat out an infield hit to put runners on third and first, Jade Currier-Graffam pinch ran for her and went to second on a successful steal. That brought Coen to the plate. She laced a line drive, two-run single, down the left-field line to give the Raiders a 6-5 lead and an incredible comeback.

"One of my favorite moments of the season came when Jade scored the go-ahead run, then ran and jumped into the arms of Nicole, who was in the on-deck circle," Dutton said. "Here was a freshman and a senior sharing the moment, that's what makes this team special."

Apt and Dutton did away with grades at the start of the season during the team's annual trip to Connecticut.

"I told them, there are no more seniors, junior, sophomores and freshmen," Apt said, "you're just Fryeburg softball players, you're a team. Dutty is right, this is a special group. We have a great mix of kids, who truly like each other. I've never kept 16 kids on the varsity. I said at the start, 'Fred, you're asking for trouble keeping this many,' but it's worked out great."

The Warriors didn't go quietly in their half of the seventh inning. They actually got the winning run to second base. A Warrior reached on an error to start the inning. Fryeburg got two quick outs on ground balls back to Bennett on the mound, but a base hit put runners at first and third.

Apt allowed the runner on first to steal second base uncontested, putting the winning run 120 feet away.

"I didn't want to risk throwing the ball away," Apt said.

Apt went to the mound, talked with his pitcher (Bennett) and catcher (Cooper).

"Coop calls most of the pitches, but I told her if we're going to get beat, let it be on Nicole's best pitch," he said.

The No. 7 hitter for the Warriors worked the count to 3-2, fouled off two consecutive pitches and then was caught looking on a fastball by Bennett that went over the inside part of the plate for a called strike three. The Raiders stormed the field and the celebration began.

Fryeburg (16-3) is in the state championship for the first time since 2012. The Raiders will play Old Town (17-2) in the finals at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at St. Joseph's.

This year's team is Nicole Bennett, Breanna Burnell, Mackenzie Buzzell, Emily Carty, Chloe Coen, Caroline Condon, Grace Condon, Makayla Cooper, Jade Currier-Graffam, Maddie Darling, Kaylee Emery, Ali Fraize, Brooke Juneau, Kristina LeBlanc, Madison McIntyre and Paige O'Connell.

Old Town, the No. 2 seed in the North, punched its ticket to the finals by beating No. 4 seed Oceanside 1-0 in eight innings in the Class B North Final in Brewer, Maine, on Tuesday night.

"They're a good team," Dutton said, sharing some of his early scouting report. "They have a very good pitcher (McKenna Smith, a junior), who throws hard. I think she has something like 130 strikeouts in 61 innings. We like fast pitching. Old Town likes to play small ball, manufacturing runs."

"They'll be good," Apt said. "It to be a great game."