Haverhill Hillies Softball '08

Sat, May 31, 2008 03:00 PM @ Methuen
Team Final
Playoff Game North Division 1 - Round 1
Haverhill 1
Methuen 7

Hillies' breakout season ends in disappointment

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Katie McMahon, Staff PhotographerMore photos METHUEN | Despite a tough 7-1 loss to Methuen yesterday in the Division 1 North first round, Haverhill can take a slew of positives out of this season.

The Hillies posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1995-96.

The Brown and Gold improved or equalled their win total for the fifth straight season.

Haverhill's 11 wins tied for its highest total since 1996.

For the Rangers, maybe it was a good thing that catcher Paige Fleming missed the Methuen Tournament because of a personal commitment.

Fleming returned to the lineup with a bang yesterday with two hits and three RBIs and her replacement during the tournament, freshman Rebecca Armstrong, added a pinch-hit single as the Rangers (15-6) advanced to the Division 1 North quarterfinals tomorrow in Peabody at 3:30 p.m.

Methuen pitcher Sarra Bergeron fired a one-hitter with nine strikeouts, allowing just one walk. She retired the side in order four times.

It was a tough day for the Haverhill batters. In addition to the strikeouts, the Hillies popped up or hit soft liners on 11 occasions.

"Paige has been solid all year and she looked like she wanted to prove something today," said Methuen coach Jason Smith. "Her missing the tournament was a non-issue, and it allowed us to find out about Rebecca. Now we have two good catchers."

The young batterymates (Fleming is a sophomore) weren't the only Rangers to sting the ball. Methuen finished with 11 hits off Haverhill pitcher Alicia Briggs. Jessi McCarthy had two hits and scored a run and No. 9 hitter Talan Barron added two hits, an RBI and a run.

Fleming had an RBI single in the bottom of the first to give Methuen a 1-0 lead, but the Hillies tied it in the third when Paige Johnson led off with a single, advanced on an error and scored on a wild pitch.

Methuen scored what proved to be the winning run in the fourth when Rebecca Caterino singled, advanced to second on a ground out and scored on a Barron single to left field. A fine throw from Haverhill center fielder Katelyn Demers nailed Barron at the plate to prevent further damage.

But the Rangers added three runs in the fifth to pull away and padded their lead with two more runs in the sixth. A two-run double by Fleming was the key blow in the fifth and three errors in those two innings caused two of the other runs to score.

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