Newport Softball Grinds Out 10-Inning Win Over Stevens

  • Gabby Scanlon celebrates with her Newport teammates after her tenth inning, game winning run against Stevens in Newport, N.H. Thursday, June 5, 2014. Newport won 7 - 6. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Gabby Scanlon celebrates with her Newport teammates after her tenth inning, game winning run against Stevens in Newport, N.H. Thursday, June 5, 2014. Newport won 7 - 6.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Patty Deschaine, a Stevens volunteer assistant coach watches as the Cardinals go into extra innings against Newport Thursday, June 5, 2014 for a chance at the state softball finals. Newport won 7 - 6. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Patty Deschaine, a Stevens volunteer assistant coach watches as the Cardinals go into extra innings against Newport Thursday, June 5, 2014 for a chance at the state softball finals. Newport won 7 - 6.
    (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Gabby Scanlon celebrates with her Newport teammates after her tenth inning, game winning run against Stevens in Newport, N.H. Thursday, June 5, 2014. Newport won 7 - 6. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Patty Deschaine, a Stevens volunteer assistant coach watches as the Cardinals go into extra innings against Newport Thursday, June 5, 2014 for a chance at the state softball finals. Newport won 7 - 6. <br/>(Valley News - James M. Patterson)

Newport — Whatever works.

Newport pitcher Stephanie Carl kept yelling encouraging words to her team as three times they fell behind late in their New Hampshire Division III second-round softball game with Stevens on Thursday.

“Honestly, I even said a little prayer,” said the sophomore, who earned the win in a grinding 7-6, 10-inning victory.

It’s been a tough haul for Carl, who missed most of the season recovering from a broken knuckle.

“I was so happy when the doctor told me I could play again,” she said.

Newport captured its first postseason win in 10 years. The Tigers will visit top-seeded White Mountains in the quarterfinals on Monday.

The teams split a pair of games during the regular season. The Tigers (12-4) grabbed the eighth seed, while Cardinals (11-5) were ninth. Each team surged going down the stretch, winning seven of eight. Also both Stevens coach Missy Nichols and Newport leader Meredith McAllister are Fall Mountain Regional High graduates.

Team teams combined to leave 23 runners on base — 12 for Stevens and 11 for Newport. Stevens received 10 walks, but only one came around to score.

The Stevens loss overshadowed a gutsy effort from hurler Tori Maslan, who not only tossed 176 pitches, but belted a three-run homer.

Nichols said she was not broken-hearted over the loss because it was such a good game. But she knew it was a good game because Maslan hung in there.

“They didn’t hit a lot of hard balls off her, but there were some that just dropped into the open spots,” Nichols said.

Stevens led three times in the late innings. Newport trailed 4-2 going into the seventh inning and tied it at 4 to force extras. In the eighth, Stevens took a 5-4 lead and again the Tigers came back to knot it at 5. Stevens put the pressure on again in the 10th with a run to go up 6-5. It was at that point the Tigers got two runs in the bottom of the inning to win the game.

Maria Chase started the inning with a single up the middle — the only ball the Tigers hit out of the infield in the frame. Chase stole second base and reached third when the catcher’s throw to second rolled into the outfield. Gabby Scanlon, a freshman, dropped down a bunt that delivered Chase.

Scanlon was safe at first and reached second as Stevens chased around a low throw. A passed ball got her to third, and she scored on an infield grounder by Sophie Willis.

McAllister, who was trying to avoid hyperventilating after the game, said she thought that her team would do well, but said she became frustrated as the game moved along.

“We just weren’t hitting and we were leaving runners all over the place,” she said.

Carl came on in the fourth inning with one out and Stevens leading 4-1. She went the next 62⁄3 innings and allowed just two runs, one earned.

“Gosh, this was exciting,” she said.

Stevens scored just one run in the first three innings despite seven walks from Newport sophomore Samantha McNeel. The Cardinals received three free passes in he first inning and didn’t score.

In the second inning Stevens had runners on second and third with one out when Alexis Melcher singled up the middle. One run scored, but the second runner was cut down at the plate on a strike from Newport center fielder Noelle Peterson.

After loading the bases with one out in the third, McNeel got two strikeouts to escape. In the fourth, Maslan drilled a one-out, three-run homer over the center field fence. Carl pitched from that point on.