A Dream Come True: Campbell Lady Cougars are State Champs Again

June 20, 2014

by Phillip Nichols

In the spring, catcher Brittany McNulla was hoping for the opportunity to win another championship, ending her high school career on a high note.  Flash forward to June 14, and the number three-seeded Campbell Cougars were to face the number one-seeded White Mountains Regional of Whitefield for that chance.  The Lady Cougars showed poise and patience, winning 1-0 at Plymouth State University on June 14.

Could you ask for a better day for the Campbell Cougars as a whole?  Earlier in the day the baseball team won their Division III State Championship game, and the Lady Cougars looking to win their third title in four years.  Adding to the excitement was the chance for Coach Raycraft, retiring at the end of the season, to win his third title in four years.

The Lady Cougars were there to defend the title that they had won the year before against the same team, but yet were thought to be the underdogs.  Senior catcher McNulla and pitcher Emily Paquin, who had been playing together for the past 12 years (the last four as Cougars), were determined to hold up their end of the bargain.  Their teammates also had their backs.

Both teams played one another tough.  It was truly a pitcher’s duel.  Emily Paquin, pitching in her final game as a Cougar, was able to hold off the bats of White Mountains with the help of her teammates.  Coach Raycraft speaking of Paquin described her as a, “pressure pitcher, who thrives on competition.”

The game remained scoreless until the sixth inning, when with a combination of good batting and base running, the Lady Cougars chipped away at the Spartans’ Erika Millet to score the game’s one and only run.

However, the Spartans had their chances in the seventh inning.  Emily Paquin was pitching to a Spartan batter, needing only one out to win.  The batter was facing one ball and two strikes, as Paquin got instructions from McNulla.  Paquin slung a pitch toward McNulla, and the batter tried to check her swing, but was ruled out to end the game.

After the game, the only two seniors on the team, McNulla and Paquin, were very excited.  McNulla said she had not slept in about a week, having played in the semi-final game, two days before and having graduation ceremonies just the day before.

McNulla, in speaking about her team said, “We play as a team.  We’re not one player getting everything done.  We get it done as a team.”

“It’s cool coming in as the underdog …, “ Emily said, “It felt even better because a lot of people didn’t think we were going to be back here, and definitely a lot of people didn’t think we were going to win.”

Yet, win they did: State champions in Division III softball again.  Congratulations to the entire Campbell Lady Cougars team on a job well done.