Josh Heil had two of Salem’s four hits in their loss to Timberlane.
Timberlane manager Jamie Fish took a big chance that paid off big time last Thursday afternoon, when he decided to pitch junior Matt Faia against the Salem Blue Devils, instead off their number one pitcher, P. J. Singster. Faia got a three-run cushion after three innings and got another run in the fifth inning off a perfectly executed suicide squeeze, and that was enough to upset the number eight seeded Blue Devils 4-1 at Michele Park. Timberlane was going to their fifth state tourney game in the last 15 years, and hadn’t won a tourney game in 14 years, and they had just lost to this Blue Devil team 6-1 about two weeks ago. Salem manager Danny Keleher started Jake Lambert on the mound. Lambert pitched pretty well, but three Salem errors had the Blue Devils giving up three unearned runs in the second and third inning. With two out in the top of the second inning, the Owls singled and then Salem made their second error of the game on a bad-hop ball to the left side of the infield putting runners at first and third. Two singles, and a walk with the bases loaded gave the Owls their first two unearned runs. Timberlane made it 3-0 in the top of the third inning when a line drive was dropped starting off the inning and the runner ended up at second. A walk and a sacrifice put runners at first and third and a sacrifice fly scored the run.
Offensively, Salem was hitting the ball, but were getting under it and popping it up. Josh Heil had Salem’s first hit with two outs in the first inning, but he was thrown out trying to steal second. Joe Morin and Sam Fazioli both drew walks around a Darren Brown line drive to right, but a strikeout and a pop to third kept Salem off the scoreboard in the second inning. The Blue Devils kept hitting fly balls or pop ups for the first six innings, and in the fifth, Timberlane added a fourth run on two singles, a sacrifice bunt, and a suicide squeeze. The Blue Devils were still hitting flyballs, liners to the Owl outfield, or pop ups at the plate, but they started their first rally of the game leading off the last of the seventh inning. Darren Brown led off with a single and went to second when Faia hit Sam Fazioli with a pitch. Josh Treff then cracked a single down the leftfield line to plate Brown, and now Salem only trailed 4-1. Owls’ manager Jamie Fish then lifted Faia for P. J. Singster, and he got Shaun Yelle to hit into a fielder’s choice, DeMarco to foul out to the catcher, and Jordan Estevez to hit a one-hopper back to the pitcher for the final out. Salem only had five hits in the ball game, and while Timberlane did have 10 hits in the game, half of them were either infield hits or bunt singles. The Owls earned the right to meet number one Trinity at Gill Stadium on Saturday where P. J. Singster will get the start and have a shot at knocking out the Class L favorite.
Manager Dan Keleher didn’t have to tell his Blue Devil team twice to go over and shake the winning Timberlane team’s hand, and Keleher said later, “Hey that kid Faia did a super job. We only had two strikeouts, but we only had two groundouts, too. It seemed like everything we hit was up in the air or right at them. Those kids played a helluva game, and they were the better team today.” Timberlane went on to give number one trinity trouble too, as the Pioneers eked out a 3-1 win in Manchester.
Shortstop Steph Cabrel gets a hit against Nashua South in their 3-0 quarter final win.
Sachss and his Blue Devils knew that they had to hit a little more on Saturday when they faced Dover’s Sarah Morse again. Morse and Dover had edged Salem 2-1 just a week and a half earlier when both teams had three hits each, but Salem would take an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when leadoff hitter, Stephanie Cabral got a base hit and later came around to score. Salem senior Dominique Heres started on the mound for the Blue Devils and she gave up a run on five hits in her four innings of work, before giving way to Nora Galvin, who pitched scoreless ball for the Blue Devils in the next five innings. Dover was hitting the ball as their 13 base hits would surely attest to, but the Salem defense kept coming up with the big plays and the score remained 1-1 into the 10th inning. Salem would only collect six hits off of Morse, but Dover made three errors that kept the Blue Devils hanging around. Harold Sachs used freshman Nicole Gubellini in the 10th inning and the Green Wave were able to get a couple of runners on base, and then received a single to center to finally knock off the Blue Devils 2-1. Harold Sachs later said, “I’ve got to be impressed with the way our kids played. They made all the plays in the field against all the big veteran teams, and we’re a young team that is only losing two seniors, and most of our girls are coming back for the next two years.”
Contact, contact, contact! No matter how good or how fast a softball pitcher in high school is, you have to make contact, and that’s exactly what Harold Sachs’ young Blue Devil softball team did last Wednesday afternoon in their Class L tourney opener against Nashua South. Salem junior pitcher Nora Galvin tossed a three-hit gem at Salem High School against the 8-11 Panthers, who were seeded 12th in the Class L standings. Salem’s freshmen contingent of Stephanie Long, Sarah Frahm, and Amanda Baron would come through in the clutch once again, as they play like grizzled veterans. In a scoreless game with two outs in the bottom of the second inning, Amanda Baron clubbed a long double down the leftfield line. Sachs put sophomore Geena Terino in as a pinch runner for Baron, and three pitches later, Steph Long smacked a single to score Terino and give the blue Devils a 1-0 lead. Nora Galvin was breezing along with a one-hitter while striking out six and walking two for the first five innings, but her teammates gave her two more runs to play with in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs Erica DePinto singled, before Julia Gray belted a long triple to score DePinto. Amanda Vaudreuil’s single scored Gray and Salem had their 3-0 lead. The only time Nashua South threatened was in the top of the sixth inning when their first two batters reached base. The next Panther batter hit a bullet down to first base, but freshman Sarah Frahm caught the liner, stepped on first base for the double play, and then wheeled and threw to Stephanie Cabral at second for triple play. (How’s that for you’re basic freshman play?)