Newport Rides Carl’s Almost-Cycle to Win
Newport’s Mindy Carl, left, warms up in the on-deck circle as Mascoma’s Morgan Coleman pitches during the Tigers’ win yesterday. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Mascoma coach Don Griswold gives shortstop Tori Makalinaw a high five after a good inning. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Newport — When Newport High freshman Stephanie Carl came to bat in the sixth inning of yesterday’s NHIAA Division III softball game with Mascoma, the Tigers had a very comfortable lead and Carl needed just a single to hit for the cycle. With that in mind, she intentionally dropped a soft opposite-field fly that landed safely inside the right-field foul line.
Now, hitting for the cycle is one of those rare things, and Carl knew that when she came to bat and went to the opposite field for just that purpose. However, the rare cycle will have to wait another day: Carl took a successful risk and turned the single into a double.
So why didn’t she stop at first in a game that Newport would claim, 12-2? “My big sister was running ahead of me and I had to keep after her,” she said.
When she got to second base, umpire Hank Tenney told her if she stayed a first, she would have had the cycle.
“He told me, but I just couldn’t stop running,” said the 15-year-old.
Stephanie Carl may have been the main headliner on this day, but the Tigers have everybody back from a seven-win season. That includes Stephanie’s older sister, senior hurler Mindy Carl, who tossed a four-hitter at a pretty good Mascoma team. She walked just two in an 81-pitch outing.
However, what pleased second-year Newport coach Meredith McAllister the most was the errorless defense.
“In fact, I liked everything we did today,” said the Fall Mountain graduate. ”This is the best we played all year.”
Newport is now 4-1 with just a loss to powerful Monadnock marring the schedule. McAllister couldn’t be happier.
“This such a good group of girls to coach,” McAllister said. “We’re having so much fun.”
Meredith Coleman deserved a better fate as the Mascoma pitcher, battling through a 127-pitch effort, many of the extras coming as a result of a defense that committed five errors.
The loss left the Royals, who dropped two games last week while five players were away on vacation, at 1-3.
In Stephanie Carl’s first three plate appearance, the right-handed hitter hit three balls to right-center. Carl opened with a triple in the first inning, then doubled in the third and legged out a home run to deep right-center in the fifth.
When she got that home run, it looked like she would never get a chance for the cycle, scheduled to be the eighth batter in the sixth in what would be her last at-bat for the Tigers thanks to their big lead. However, after the first two Newporters went down in the sixth, the next five reached to bring Carl to the plate with a chance for a rare accomplishment.
But since she has been chasing her big sister for a long time, she decided she would do it one more time. Goodbye, cycle.
Stephanie Carl wasn’t the only Tiger to homer. Sophie Willis, who had a 2-for-2 game with three runs scored, went deep to left in the second inning.
Newport picked up two runs in a strange way in the second inning. With runners on second and third with one out, Lindsy Desmarais hit a pop fly to second. When the ball was caught, Mindy Carl, the runner on third, broke for home and scored easily. Stephanie Carl, the runner at second, broke for third late and drew a throw, but the delivery went out of play and allowed her to come home.
Mascoma scored it first run in the first inning on a wild pitch. The other came in the sixth as Tori Makalinaw tripled and Catie Mylott singled her home.
Mascoma hosts Berlin on Wednesday while Newport goes to Sunapee on Friday.