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Home field advantage

Monadnock 12 & under all-stars use walk-off hit to win District 5 title over Souhegan Valley

  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Monadnock’s shortstop Sam Dubois connects for a hit Friday night. In the title game, Dubois was 4-for-4 with four runs scored.(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    Monadnock’s shortstop Sam Dubois connects for a hit Friday night. In the title game, Dubois was 4-for-4 with four runs scored.(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Souhegan Valley’s Abigail LeBlanc, from Lyndeborough, reaches out for a double on Friday night against Monadnock.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    Souhegan Valley’s Abigail LeBlanc, from Lyndeborough, reaches out for a double on Friday night against Monadnock.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Monadnock second baseman Madison Labrie prepares for a ground ball on Friday night.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    Monadnock second baseman Madison Labrie prepares for a ground ball on Friday night.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Monadnock’s Rachyl Parslow slides safely into third base before Souhegan Valley third baseman Merideth Basta can corral the throw from home during Friday night’s District 5 opening win. Monadnock went on to defeat Souhegan Valley in the championship game to advance to this weekend’s 12 and under state tournament in Londonderry.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    Monadnock’s Rachyl Parslow slides safely into third base before Souhegan Valley third baseman Merideth Basta can corral the throw from home during Friday night’s District 5 opening win. Monadnock went on to defeat Souhegan Valley in the championship game to advance to this weekend’s 12 and under state tournament in Londonderry.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Monadnock 12 and under all-star softball team won the District 5 title on Sunday. Front row, from left: Samantha Bilodeau, Shannon Mahoney, Raven Comtois, Karissa Oakes, Samantha Dubois and Madison Labrie; back row: Coach Jeff Labrie, Carly Labrecque, Rachel Hurley, Rachyl Parslow, Hayley Cheviot, Manager Jim Bilodeau, Monique Hill, Madison Picard and Coach Jamie Hurley.

    The Monadnock 12 and under all-star softball team won the District 5 title on Sunday. Front row, from left: Samantha Bilodeau, Shannon Mahoney, Raven Comtois, Karissa Oakes, Samantha Dubois and Madison Labrie; back row: Coach Jeff Labrie, Carly Labrecque, Rachel Hurley, Rachyl Parslow, Hayley Cheviot, Manager Jim Bilodeau, Monique Hill, Madison Picard and Coach Jamie Hurley. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • Monadnock’s shortstop Sam Dubois connects for a hit Friday night. In the title game, Dubois was 4-for-4 with four runs scored.(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • Souhegan Valley’s Abigail LeBlanc, from Lyndeborough, reaches out for a double on Friday night against Monadnock.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • Monadnock second baseman Madison Labrie prepares for a ground ball on Friday night.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • Monadnock’s Rachyl Parslow slides safely into third base before Souhegan Valley third baseman Merideth Basta can corral the throw from home during Friday night’s District 5 opening win. Monadnock went on to defeat Souhegan Valley in the championship game to advance to this weekend’s 12 and under state tournament in Londonderry.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Monadnock 12 & under all-star softball team won the District 5 title at Ecco Field in Peterborough on Sunday, July 7, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Monadnock 12 and under all-star softball team won the District 5 title on Sunday. Front row, from left: Samantha Bilodeau, Shannon Mahoney, Raven Comtois, Karissa Oakes, Samantha Dubois and Madison Labrie; back row: Coach Jeff Labrie, Carly Labrecque, Rachel Hurley, Rachyl Parslow, Hayley Cheviot, Manager Jim Bilodeau, Monique Hill, Madison Picard and Coach Jamie Hurley.

When the Monadnock 12 and under all-star softball team found themselves down 13-5 to Souhegan Valley in the District 5 championship game on Sunday going into the last of the fifth, the team never wavered.

They were playing on their home turf at Ecco Field, as the host of the tournament, and had already defeated the Storm in the districts opener on Friday.

There was a confidence that this group would be able to erase the eight-run deficit over the final two innings. Manager Jim Bilodeau knew his team had it in them and the girls proved him right.

“When they put together those eight runs in the third, the girls got down a bit, but I kept telling them ‘it’s only the third inning,’” said Bilodeau.

Monadnock scored four runs in the fifth to make it a 13-9 game and after keeping the Storm off the scoreboard in the top of the sixth, the host team finished off the epic comeback.

Madison Labrie singled home Rachel Hurley for the game winner with two outs in the last of the sixth to give Monadnock a 14-13 victory and the District 5 title.

“It was crazy. A very good, exciting game,” said Bilodeau, who got a celebratory ice bath. “It was great for the girls.”

Monadnock finished the tournament with a perfect 6-0 record and advances to the state tournament in Londonderry beginning on Friday. The Storm, whose only two losses came to Monadnock, also qualified for states.

“If we eliminate those bad innings and we keep our focus positive, we have as good a chance as anybody,” said Bilodeau of the state tournament.

Early in the championship game, Monadnock looked as though they were ready for yet another easy win. Up to that point in the district tournament, the group made up of players from Peterborough, Jaffrey, Rindge, New Ipswich, Hancock and Greenville had not really been challenged outside of the first few innings against Souhegan Valley in the opener.

“We were confident we could get to [the championship] game, but we knew once we got there we were in for a battle,” said Bilodeau.

With a 4-0 lead after two innings and ace pitcher Monique Hill on the mound, Monadnock felt good about its title chances.

Then a few errors mixed with the Storms’ small ball approach led to eight runs and a four-run deficit for the home team.

“It was just one of those bad innings you try to avoid,” said Bilodeau.

After each team scored a run in their next at bat, Monadnock was down 9-5 entering the fifth. Souhegan Valley then tacked on four more to push Monadnock to the brink.

But the goals of a district title did not change and the girls continued to play their brand of softball. And it led to a comeback that will go down as one for the ages. Hill, Madison Picard and Hurley all knocked in runs in the sixth inning before Labrie’s walk-off single. Shortstop Sam Dubois, who hits clean-up, went 4-for-4 with a triple, three runs batted in and four runs scored in the title game.

“Proud is an understatement, “ said Bilodeau. “This is the best group of girls that I’ve ever coached.”

After winning all four of its pool play games, Monadnock earned the top seed in the single elimination portion of the District 5 tournament. In the semifinals, Monadnock cruised past Claremont 14-2 to set up a second meeting with Souhegan Valley, which defeated Kearsarge Mountain on the other side of the bracket.

Monadnock began its run to the district title with an 11-4 win over the Storm on Friday. On Saturday, Monadnock defeated a young Sugar River team 33-2 and then bashed their way to a 24-1 win over Claremont later in the day. To begin the final day of the tournament, Monadnock got past Kearsarge 11-1 to finish pool play as the only undefeated team.

“Our bats worked really well this weekend,” said Bilodeau.

The all-star team was chosen in May, but did not start practicing until June 10 after the completion of the regular season. Prior to the districts, they had only played in one tournament and finished runner-up at the annual Barrington Grip and Rip.

“We’ve only been together for a few weeks,” said Bilodeau. “And we’ve just gotten better and better each time out.”

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