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North Earns Sweep of South

Castleton, Vt. — The North showcased a little bit of everything and swept a doubleheader from the South 5-0 and 6-1 yesterday in the 27th Annual North-South Softball Classic at Spartan Field.

But this all-star series that featured 36 of Vermont’s finest graduated senior players was not about winning and losing.

“These girls are just excited to be here and to play and to get to know each other,” said South coach Katie Contrada, of Mount Anthony. “They are having fun win or lose because winning is not what this tournament is about. It’s about celebrating this time in their life and having the opportunity to play with good ball players.”

North 5, South 0

The North played small ball perfectly and they rode great pitching and defense to victory in the series opener.

The North broke up a scoreless deadlock by striking for four runs and never got the ball out of the infield.

The North had no luck and did little against South starter Kayla Wood, of Brattleboro. But against reliever Leigh-Anna LaPlante, the North changed its strategy. Kelsey Croft of Lyndon got it going by drawing a walk and then the fun began.

Emily Gold laid down a sac bunt, but was safe when LaPlante threw the ball errantly to first, with Croft moving to third. Sommer Libby then laid down a perfect bunt base hit, driving in the only run the North would need.

Lyndon’s Croft relieved for starter Dakota Raleigh, of Missisquoi, and choked off any chance the South had to rally. She allowed only one hit over the final three innings and managed to strand a runner at third base in the sixth.

Raleigh got the win, pitching two-hit ball over the first four innings with four strikeouts.

North 6, South 1

The North squad came out swinging in this one, garnering two runs in the first and four in the third off Fair Haven starter Emily Ringquist.

The North rapped out seven hits in those two frames, with the heart of their order — Claire Van Der Eems of St. Johnsbury, Anna Bingham of North Country and Kendell Grammo of Colchester — providing the muscle. The trio combined for five hits, scored four runs and drove in two.

It was too bad for the South because after the third LaPlante and Wood did not allow a hit or a baserunner. But the damage was done.

And the South could never get the timely hit against starter Croft and relievers Emi Eakin, of Colchester, and Raleigh. The South collected six hits but stranded nine runners, including eight in scoring position.

Today, the teams will play one nine-inning game beginning at 11 a.m.