2009 Championship Woodbury Softball team.
Yes, it seemed to be a re-make of last year’s Tri-County League championship as the Hudson Bears came to Brian Memorial Field in Salem last Friday afternoon to meet the 10-1 Woodbury Warriors. Hudson beat the Timberlane Owls 3-2 in extra innings on Wednesday to get to this point. The Woodbury girls had beaten Hudson 4-0 back in the second game of the spring in the second week of April. Last Friday “Beninati’s Bomber’s” were simply hitting the ball where it was pitched, but Hudson was able to grab an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when they got two of their six hits in the game off of Woodbury’s winning pitcher, Rachel Morrissey. Woodbury’s potent line-up then batted around in scoring eight runs in the bottom of the second inning, and followed that up with six more in the third inning to hammer Hudson 15-3 in just five innings. The title was the first for coach Rino Beninati’s Woodbury girls since the 2006 season when they won their seventh Tri-County title in a row, but Hudson beat Woodbury 3-2 last year thanks to pitching phenom, Taylor Carbone, and Londonderry beat the Warriors 3-2 in June of 2007. Coach Beninati said following a water cooler bath that he got from his players on the field after the game, “ I could tell in practice and the scrimmage we had against Nashua Catholic that the girls were much more determined at the plate, “ We weren’t swinging for bad pitches, and they were doing a great job at battling back when they were down in the count. The bottom part of our line-up came up huge in both the semi-finals and the finals. I’ll give you a little example. Our centerfielder, Rachel Murphy was only 2 for 20 batting in the regular season for an average of .100, but in the two playoff games against the best two teams, she made five outstanding catches of line drives hit to her. Rachel was 4 for 6, for average of batting .667, she scored four runs and had three runs driven in, which means she doubled her hits in the regular season.” Murphy wasn’t the only Warrior who shined when the money was on the line as other girls like Stephanie Lovett, Jill McColgen, and sixth grader Montana Davis all came up and delivered during crunch time in the playoff. That’s very big for 12-14 year-old girls to perform in the clutch.”
The Woodbury girls earned the right to the title game by beating a very good Londonderry team in the semi-finals. Beninati tossed Rachel Morrissey out on the hill to pitch against Londonderry and she tossed a one-hitter in an 18-1 blowout that saw Woodbury explode at the start with four runs in the first inning, and then erupt for 13 second inning runs. In the bottom of the second inning, outfielder Rachel Murphy started the rally with a leadoff single and would single again later in the inning and score a pair of runs. Stephanie Lovett, Kaitlin Arsenault, Hannah Latham, and Jill McColgen, added two hits or more in this contest as Woodbury tallied 13 runs in the second inning. After three innings coach Beninati was looking to put team players like Emily Bibeau, Emily O’Brien, Taylor Conley, Katie Dawson, Rachel Towler, Meghan Williams, and Alex Breen into the game.
After thinking back on another championship season, coach Beninati said, “It was a real fun season, but I think it all turned around after our third game of the year in Salem against Timberlane. After opening the season up with an 11-1 win at Timberlane, the girls shut out Hudson 4-0, and then had a couple of rainouts and vacation week. When we returned to school Timberlane came over to Michele Parkand beat us 10-7 two weeks after we had just crushed the same team. Tommy you were there and you saw how bad we were that day, I just couldn’t believe it was the same team. From that point on we played much better and then in the practices before the playoffs, our girls just looked more sure of themselves and were all swinging the bats much better. Girls that had trouble hitting all season long, were now clubbing the ball all over the park in our 18-1 semi-final win over Londonderry, and this is the same team that we needed nine innings to beat 5-4 in the regular season. Then we play a tough Hudson team in the final and get 17 hits and 15 runs and beat them 15-3. I knew girls like Sammy Cloutier, Rachel Morrissey, Hannah Latham, Amanda Bickford, and Kaitlin Arsenault were all going to hit, but I didn’t have any idea of what the bottom of our batting order would do. Rachel Murphy was just 2 for 20 in the regular season and she goes 4 for 6 and scored five runs and drives in four for the two playoff games. Stephanie Lovett was another girl who hit the cover off the ball in the playoffs, and Jill McColgen was rapping base hits all over the place too. That was big from the bottom of the order and then our power girls kept waving them around the bases. This group was fun to coach and be around and I know that several of them will be helping the high school team out I the very near future.”
Nora Galvin was voted to First Team All State for class L Softball
This was the year that many Class L softball experts said that anyone of seven teams could win the title this spring. While Harold Sachs’ Salem Blue Devils were one of those seven teams, (along with Concord, Dover, Londonderry, Spaulding, Pinkerton, and Alvirne), Paige Hanson and the Concord Crimson Tide were able to beat the Dover Green Wave and flame-throwing, Sarah Morse, 2-0. Hanson will be back with Concord next year, but people will be concentrating on what the Blue Devils and Coach Denise Rioux’ Alvirne Broncos will be looking like next April. The Broncos went to the semi-finals after knocking off number one seeded Spaulding, featuring their frosh phenom, Taylor Carbone, who hits and throws like a college sophomore. Alvirne will be bringing back practically the entire team, and coach Sachs and the Salem girls should be loaded too.
Sachs will lose All-State catcher, Erica DePinto, and outfielders, Ashley Relf and Beth Storie to graduation. Sachs will be returning three junior starters in outfielder Julia Gray, pitcher Nora Galvin, and third baseman Amanda Vaudreuil, and reserve outfielder Jenna Lapadula, but there will be a quagmire of a list to fill the rest of the roster between a bunch or sophomores and freshman. Plus maybe two or three eight graders that might be pressing the older girls for playing time next spring. Last weekend Harold Sachs talked about what his team should be like next spring. Sachs said, “We had a great season this year considering how young we were, but we’ll probably be as young or younger next spring if all of these young girls come through. The key for us and really any season, is how our girls come along in the regular season, and are hopefully playing to the best of their ability come playoff time.
Salem will not only be returning Nora Galvin, who had a tremendous season on the mound, and did a nice job with the bat, but they’ll have Sophomore Val Bauer coming back, along with freshmen Nicole Gubellini and little Brittney Hall, who are going to be real good ones for the Blue Devils the next three years. Salem’s infield looks like it will be all set for sometime, as freshman Sarah Frahm is at first base, sophomore Sarah Bracken will return at second base, and sophomore Stephanie Cabral did a super job at shortstop. Junior Amanda Vaudreuil played third base and did a nice job at the plate. Julia Gray will be in either right or left field, and freshman Stephanie Long is making everyone forget that she used to be a catcher, with the way the speedy blonde runs down everything near her. Freshman Amanda Baron got her varsity starts this year, because she makes contact and has a powerful bat, and Amanda will be looking to nail down the catching position. Sophomores Geena Terino and Jade Morrison will be competing for the other outfield slot with Lapadula and some new freshman that should make this very interesting next spring. Harold Sachs said, “Softball is not the kind of sport where you just throw on the spikes after not playing for nine months and expect to be at the top of your game. Most of these girls are all playing for some AAU team this summer and a lot of them who don’t play a winter sport, will be working out for a couple of months during the winter. I hear that there’s going to be a lot of eighth grade talent coming up next spring and I’m excited about our chances. I think they’ll be a lot of stiff competition for roster spots on our team next spring.
Jake Lambert pitched in the Cardinals win over the Nashua Mauraders
The hits were hard to come by for the Salem Cardinals last Thursday night at Nashua South, but Jake Lambert tossed five innings of four hit ball and Brad Letendre rung up two innings of no-hit ball as the Cardinals won their season opener 4-3. Matt Loguidice singled home Paul Trabucco with the winning run in the top of the seventh inning. The Cardinals helped themselves to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Justin O’Brien and Brendan Dunn both drew walks and moved up on wild pitches. Joe Morin hit a sacrifice fly to score O’Brien, and Dunn came around to score on the outfielder’s throwing error. The Marauders almost immediately answered back with three runs in the last of the first inning, but they didn’t exactly hit the ball very hard off of Salem starter, Jake Lambert. The Marauders reached base on an error, got a stolen base and then a double to score their first run. After a single, a wild pitch tied the game at 2-2 and another walk and another wild pitch put Nashua up 3-2 after one inning. The Cardinals came back to tie it up at 3-3 in the top of the second inning when Paul Trabucco singled and then stole second base. With two outs Trabucco scored on Jake Lambert’s RBI single. That was it for the offensive highlights for the next five innings, as both teams’ pitchers dominated and were backed by some fielding gems behind them. Trabucco would be one of Salem’s offensive heroes in this game as he led off the top of the seventh inning with a walk, and was sacrificed over to second base by Alex Stewart. Matt Loguidice then came up with the clutch single to score Trabucco with the go ahead run, but Salem still had to get three outs in the last of the seventh inning. Brad Letendre got Nashua’s first batter to fly out to left, before walking the next batter. A wild pitch and another walk, put runners at first and second with one out, but Letendre proceeded to whiff the last two batters of the game to pick up the 4-3 win. The Cardinals were also supposed to host Hollis on Sunday afternoon at Michele Park, but that game was postponed because of rain and will be made up later this week. The Salem Cardinals will travel to Holman Stadium in Nashua this Saturday morning at 11 a.m. for a game against the Nashua Mavericks, and will travel to Alumni Field in Keene Sunday June 21 for a doubleheader against Keene starting at noon. The Cardinals will then entertain Monadnock Tuesday night June 23 at 5:45 p.m. at Michele Park.