BHS softball = Makenna Peare throw to Kyra Woodward

Berlin High pitcher Makenna Peare throws to first baseman Kyra Woodward to get a White Mountain runner out. The duo each had two hits and reached base six times in the game. (COURTESY THE WOODWARD FAMILY)

Welcome to today's rendering of SSS. Just a reminder that schedules are changing daily due to weather and health-related issues, plus this past week being spring vacation, it is sometimes difficult to stay on top of all the results of local games being played. The local coaches and I are working as best we can to keep you updated on the latest results as soon as we can. Be patient, please.

Speaking of spring vacation, as a long-time spring high school coach, and the father of three sons who played baseball, I always ran into issues with kids heading to warmer climates during vacation and missing out on the competition, usually at least two games/meets, maybe even three. So everyone works hard during pre-season, might attend a game or two, then some head off for a week of vacation and lose any edge they might have had, and have to catch back up when they return. I'm sure things are no different now. Family is important, as is a commitment to a sport, coaches and teammates. What to do? Not sure but someone mentioned to me the other day about having a longer and earlier school break, combining winter and spring vacation after winter sports and before spring sports.

There is a similar problem with the school prom, graduation and sporting events scheduled on the same day. We always had issues with that, too. One year I had a girl qualify for a post-season meet which was held on the same day as graduation, another one at the same time they tested for SATs.

We worked it out as best we could each time but it wasn't always easy and someone was ultimately disappointed. One year, the late Meg Lamont, had a pilot from Errol fly down to Keene where I drove her to the airport, so he could fly her back to the Milan International Airport with her prom gown on board, so she could attend the prom! I wonder if the guy she went to the prom with appreciated her effort?

In mentioning Meg, who passed away a number of years ago of cancer, it reminds me of Paula Tremblay Agrodnia, a former local girl, who also passed away recently. Paula was quite the student/athlete competing in three sports as I recall at BHS, but of particular interest to me as a track and field athlete. She was a sweetheart, hard-working, talented, very cordial, somewhat unassuming but gutsy, determined and dedicated on the track and committed to her sports, coaches, school, community and teammates. My sincere condolences go out to her immediate families on both sides and her extended relatives and friends. A huge loss to all who knew and loved her for sure!!

The Berlin High softball team was engaged in two close encounters recently, winning a 12-11 game over Woodsville on April 26, before losing to White Mountains Regional 11-10 on April 28.

Julie Coulombe drove in pinch-runner Alexa Goulet with a walk-off double to give the Mountaineers the hard-fought win over Woodsville. The Engineers had a five-run lead, at 8-3, but Berlin fought back to take the lead until Woodsville tied things up in the seventh inning before Coulombe came through with the walk-off double.

It was an interesting game as the winners took advantage of nine free passes and also scored on eight wild pitches. Hitting heroes for BHS came from Jill Hallee who had a hit and scored three times, as well as hits from Grace Bradley, Emily Coulombe and Makenna Balderrama. Mak Peare went the distance on the mound for the win, allowing 13 hits but as Coach Rollie Poirier said, "Performing in a gutsy manner.”

In the 11-10 loss to White Mountains Regional, even though the Mountaineers hit three, two-run home runs it wasn't enough to win the game. Berlin jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning on a bunt single by Peare, a base hit by Baldarrama that scored Peare and then the first two-run homer, off the bat of freshman Ava Bartoli.

The Mountaineers extended their lead to 6-0 later on the second two-run blast by Kyra Woodward to go up 8-5. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Regional scored six runs to take an 11-8 lead.

The Mountaineers were not done, however, as Hallee hit the final two-run shot to narrow the lead to 11-10. To make things exciting, they loaded the bases with two outs but the rally fell short.

Leading hitters for the locals with two hits apiece were Woodward, Hallee, Peare and Bradley. Peare went the distance for BHS, giving up 10 hits with 2 Ks.

Coach Poirier was “very happy with the team these past two games. We faced two really good pitchers in very bad weather conditions and had great at-bats. Our top of the order hitters are doing their job and I think that relaxes the rest of the lineup. It is nice to see the confidence the girls are having right now, especially swinging the bat."

Meanwhile, the Berlin High baseball team continued playing well with a nice 6-4 win over Littleton on April 24, before losing to Woodsville 5-3 on April 26, and back on track with a 15-6 win over White Mountain Regional last Thursday.

The Littleton win had the Mountaineers scoring early with Ben Estrella getting things going with a lead-off single; Tyler Rousseau reached on an error; a walk to Dom Paradis; a two-run single by Kam Huntoon; and a base on balls to Griffin Melanson and Carter Poulin, scoring Paradis; before Kolin Melanson had another two-run single to give the team a 5-0 lead.

Griffin Melanson toed the mound and was cruising until the fourth inning when the Crusaders scored four runs, and there could have been more damage had not brother Kolin Melanson bailed him out with a diving play on a ground ball headed up the middle. He made the play and casually tossed the ball to second baseman Carter Poulin to end the threat.

Rousseau scored an insurance run when he singled in Kolin Melanson. Estrella had a couple of excellent running catches in left field, in the sixth and seventh innings and as Coach Dan Mackin commented, "He was forced to go a long way on both catches and had either ball landed for a base hit, the game would have been, at the least, tied."

Mackin went on to say, “The boys are playing well right now, with good starting pitching and we continue to hit well with runners in scoring position."

The 5-3 loss to Woodsville was one the Mountaineer coaching staff said, "Was a tough one to swallow, but we learn from it and move on."

With RBI singles from Rousseau, Griffin Melanson and Poulin the locals were up 3-0 after two innings. In the fourth inning, however, three errors and four unearned runs gave Woodsville the lead, one it would not relinquish.

Berlin did have the bases loaded with one out in the sixth but could not score. Poulin pitched six solid innings, giving up one earned run while walking four and striking out one batter. As Coach M. said, “Carter deserved a better outcome as he pitched very well in the loss.”

Getting back on the winning track came against White Mountains Regional with a 15-6 victory. Estrella reached on an error in the first inning and eventually scored on another error by the Regional. White Mountains got that one plus two more back in the bottom half to go up 3-1 before a big four-run second put the Mountaineers back on top 4-3. Rousseau had the big hit in that inning with a three-run triple.

Poulin drove in Griffin Melanson in the top half of the third frame to give BHS a 6-3 lead. The bottom half of the fifth had the Spartans score two runs to make it close.

Then came the seventh when Berlin exploded for nine runs, mainly from seven walks and two hit batsmen issued by White Mountains pitchers to give the Mountaineers the lead and the win.

Chucker Kam Huntoon went the distance for Berlin for his second win of the season, giving up five earned runs, seven hits, a free pass to go along with three strikeouts. Berlin now stands at 4-1.

Berlin High's track and field team had a meet canceled on April 24 but did compete this past Saturday. Stay tuned Thursday for the results of that meet.

The Berlin girl's tennis team and Gorham spring sports teams will be back in action this week.

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