Royals Sweep Unusual Twin Bill
Mascoma High runner Rachel Kahn slides into home safely yesterday, beating the tag of Newfound pitcher Sara Vassy. The Royals beat the visiting Tigers, 25-9, to finish the regular season at 8-8. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Mascoma High pitcher Morgan Coleman winds up against Newfound yesterday. The Royals beat the visiting Bears, 25-9, for their second victory of the afternoon. Mascoma also bested Fall Mountain, 17-13, in an earlier contest. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Mascoma High third baseman Becky Gravel bobbles a ground ball during her team's 25-9 defeat of visiting Newfound yesterday. Shortstop Tori Makalinaw is in the background. The Royals beat both the Bears and Fall Mountain yesterday to improve to 8-8 this season. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
West Canaan — The members of the Mascoma High softball team earned today’s holiday respite with some unorthodox doubleheader action yesterday afternoon. The Royals, needing to squeeze in games against Fall Mountain and Newfound and down to the final day of the regular season, hosted those NHIAA Division III foes back-to-back.
Mascoma beat Fall Mountain, 17-13, before pasting Newfound, 25-9. The first contest wasn’t exactly a defensive struggle and the second was downright sloppy, but Mascoma got the job done and second-year coach Dan Griswold said he expects his team to host Laconia in a playoff game Wednesday.
That would mean the Royals (8-8) finished 14th in their division, which includes 20 of its 27 teams in its postseason draw. The first round features seeded teams 13 through 16 hosting squads 17 through 20. Survivors progress to a second round and join the top 12 finishers there.
“If we hadn’t been able to get these two games in today, they would have both been forfeits for us and we would have been on the road Wednesday,” said Griswold, whose 2012 team suffered that fate and had to travel to Berlin, where it was eliminated from the playoffs.
The Fall Mountain game was twice postponed because of weather and the Newfound contest was rescheduled four times thanks to Mother Nature. Because the NHIAA doesn’t allow games on Memorial Day, yesterday’s action was as late as the regular season can get.
The opener saw Mascoma score seven times each during the first and fourth innings and build a 17-5 lead before hanging on for the victory. Third baseman Becky Gravel had a single, a double and a triple and drove in six runs. Morgan Coleman had a single, a double and two walks.
The Wildcats (1-16) drove off and the Bears (1-15) replaced them in the visitors’ dugout. But they brought a depleted, nine-player roster featuring several junior varsity fill-ins, and the lineup’s makeshift composition showed. Newfound surrendered eight runs during the first inning and 14 during the second, when some visiting fans became angry that Mascoma runners were scoring on a plethora of wild pitches and passed balls.
“I didn’t realize we were up by some much that early and given how Fall Mountain came back on us in the first game, I wasn’t taking anything for granted,” Griswold said. “After that, I didn’t let the girls advance on anything other than a hit, but those folks were already mad at me.”
Newfound issued 10 walks, committed four errors and its players often failed to cleanly field anything other than a ball hit directly their way. The Bears allowed 13 or fewer runs in a game only three times this spring and Mascoma won the teams’ first meeting of the season, 14-6.
The Royals’ highlight of the second game was a lengthy, two-run home run by Kat Langlands during the first inning. She also had a pair of singles. Rachel Kahn had two doubles, Tori Makalinaw had three singles and Catie Mylott had a single and a double.
Mascoma, which Griswold said hasn’t posted a .500 regular-season record in at least five years, has won four of its last five games after beginning the campaign by losing five of its first six contests.
Tris Wykes can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3227.