Londonderry Lancers Softball '09

Thu, Jun 11, 2009 05:00 PM @ Concord
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Final
Londonderry 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Concord 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2

Concord survives Londonderry threat

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Friday, June, 12 By Dave Dyer
Staff writer

CONCORD, N.H. — The smiles on the faces of the Concord softball players were probably more of relief than joy.

After yesterday’s 2-0 Class L semifinal win over Londonderry, Concord coach Duke Sawyer, in fact, indicated that the Crimson Tide were much more than halfway home to the Class L crown.

“I’m so glad to get by them, they’re the one team I was worried about,” said Sawyer, whose squad will face Dover (a 2-0 winner over Alvirne in the second semifinal) in Saturday’s final. “They have some great hitters. The ball just flies off their bat.”

Londonderry had beaten Concord 4-2 during the regular season, pounding 10 hits off junior ace Paige Hansen, who is already committed to UMass Amherst. Also, the Lancers knocked out the Crimson Tide in the semifinals two years ago.

With that as a backdrop, Hansen knew she needed to be on her game.

“Londonderry is a really good-hitting team and we needed one of our best games,” said Hansen. “Revenge was a big factor for us.”

Well, Hansen got the complete-game shutout, lowering her earned run average to below 0.50, but it wasn’t easy. The No. 3 Lancers (18-4) had six hits, including a double and triple, and drilled several shots that were caught.

The main difference in the game was that No. 2 Concord (20-2) was able to bunch its hits against Theresa Zwart, getting five of its nine hits in the third and fourth innings, when it scored single runs.

“We definitely hit the ball, but we couldn’t get it together at the right time,” said Londonderry coach Wayne MacDougall. “We didn’t play badly against the preseason favorite and probably the best team in the state.”

The Lancers definitely had chances to score, particularly in the first and fourth innings.

In the first, Daniele Crutcher blasted a long double with two outs. Sam Nitso then hit a drive down the right field line that Larissa Makris hauled down with a nice running catch. In the fourth with one out, Nitso drilled a triple to the fence in left-center. But Hansen recorded one of her eight strikeouts and induced a grounder to shortstop to end the threat.

Zwart pitched “well enough to win,” according to MacDougall. Although she only struck out three, she didn’t walk a batter and she held powerful Hilary Kane, who is headed to the University of Maine next year, to a harmless single in three at-bats.

Sarah Pierce played a strong defensive game at second base.

All in all, it was an admirable finish for Londonderry, which didn’t start a senior, and far surpassed MacDougall’s expectations.

“That (18-4) is the second winningest record in school history and way better than I thought we’d do,” said the 13th-year coach, whose 2007 club went 20-3. “The pitching was better than I thought, but so was the defense and our hitting — really all three areas. I’m very happy with this team.”

Deja vu

Concord also beat Londonderry, 2-0, in the 2008 tourney (quarterfinals). Yesterday was the first time since then that the Lancers were shut out ... a span of 22 games.

Watch out next year

MacDougall’s message to his team was very clear following yesterday’s semifinal loss to Concord.

“I told them that we were knocking on the door into the finals this year, but next year we want to knock it down,” said MacDougall. “It’s not easy to get here, but I’m optimistic.”

There is reason for optimism. The Lancers started a freshman, seven sophomores and two juniors yesterday and had a JV team that was undefeated during the regular season.

Semifinalist Alvirne boasts seven freshmen, including ace Taylor Carbone, Salem only graduates three seniors and Concord returns star pitcher Paige Hansen.

Defensive strategy works

With a runner on first base and two outs in the first inning, and dangerous Hilary Kane at the plate for Concord, MacDougall installed a fourth outfielder and had no one playing second base.

“She (Kane) had hit a deep one in the gap against us before and I was determined not to let that happen,” explain MacDougall.

The strategy may have made Kane press a bit because she popped up to first base to end the inning.

Game Statistics:

Londonderry (0): Bermudez dp 3-0-1, Zwart p 3-0-0, Crutcher 1b 3-0-1, Nitso 3b 3-0-1, Kraytenberg ss 3-0-0, Williams lf 3-0-1, Pierce 2b 3-0-1, Lang c 3-0-1, Rosenberg pr 0-0-0, Hunt rf 2-0-0, Reynolds cf 0-0-0. Totals 26-0-6

Concord (2): Makris rf 3-1-0, Martel dp 3-0-2, Hansen p 3-0-1, Stevenson pr 0-0-0, Kane 3b 3-0-1, Douillette c 3-0-2, Durgin pr 0-0-0, Laflam 3-1-1, Lehtinen lf 2-0-0, Houston 2b 3-0-1, Jobin ss 2-0-1, Bill cf 0-0-0. Totals 25-2-9 

RBI: Hansen, Houston

WP: Hansen; LP: Zwart

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