Back to the semifinals

DIVISION IV QUARTERFINALS: #1 WLC 21, #9 Sunapee 2

  • The WLC softball team defeated Sunapee 21-2 in the Division IV Quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The WLC softball team defeated Sunapee 21-2 in the Division IV Quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The WLC softball team defeated Sunapee 21-2 in the Division IV Quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The WLC softball team defeated Sunapee 21-2 in the Division IV Quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The WLC softball team defeated Sunapee 21-2 in the Division IV Quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The WLC softball team defeated Sunapee 21-2 in the Division IV Quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The WLC softball team defeated Sunapee 21-2 in the Division IV Quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The WLC softball team defeated Sunapee 21-2 in the Division IV Quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The WLC softball team defeated Sunapee 21-2 in the Division IV Quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The WLC softball team defeated Sunapee 21-2 in the Division IV Quarterfinals on Saturday, June 1, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • WLC senior Deanna Davidson took over the pitching duties for WLC and finished with 14 wins, while leading the Warriors back to the Division IV championship game. At the plate, Davidson led WLC with 39 RBIs and hit .435 with three home runs and eight doubles.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • Senior Andrea Heck led WLC with a batting average of .597, 46 runs scored and 29 stolen bases.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

Very few people outside of the Wilton-Lyndeborough softball program expected a run to the Division IV semifinals this year.

Even with most of last year’s championship squad returning, coach Dennis Claire questioned whether the Warriors were strong enough to get back.

But WLC has proved all year that you should not count them out. And with a crushing 21-2 victory over Sunapee in five innings on Saturday, the Warriors are back in the Final Four for the eighth time in the last nine seasons.

“We knew we could hit the ball, but we also knew we had to score a lot of runs,” said Claire.

The Warriors earned the No. 1 seed for the 11th straight year and will move on to play fourth-ranked Profile at Plymouth State University on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The last time WLC and Profile squared off was in the 2012 championships game, with the Warriors winning 1-0 in extra innings.

“I definitely think people counted us way lower than we are and I’m just happy we could prove people wrong,” said senior Deanna Davidson. “My goal for the year was to make it to Plymouth again.”

After narrowly escaping No. 16 Groveton’s first round upset bid with a come from behind 7-6 victory thanks to senior Andrea Heck’s three-run home run in the fourth, the Warriors had an easier time with Sunapee. They had defeated the Lakers by 12 runs in each of the two regular season meetings and quickly proved who was the more semifinal worthy team.

WLC sent 15 batters to the plate in the first and scored 10 runs on six hits and four walks.

And while the lead was comfortable, the Warriors have also allowed some big innings along the way. Davidson took over the pitching duties this season and outside of a few appearances the previous two years, she was really learning the position as she went.

But Davidson showed she had stepped up her game for the playoffs. She allowed single runs in the second and third innings, while only surrendering three hits and three walks.

“I’m definitely still working through things,” said Davidson. “It’s something you need to have experience with, but I’m doing my best.”

It was the kind of performance that Claire likes to see at this time of year and one the Warriors will need for Davidson to duplicate if WLC plans on making a second straight D-IV title game.

“She’s hanging in there and she’s throwing better,” said Claire.

But what it really comes down to is the offense.

With a need to score more runs than in years past, the Warriors have responded. Saturday’s outburst was the fourth time they had scored 20 or more runs, while also scoring at least 15 runs six other times.

“We work on hitting a lot,” said Davidson. “That’s usually our strong point and since the pitching isn’t as good as last year, we had to step up.”

Heck hit a two-run home run in the second and Davidson’s two-out single made it 13-1. WLC added eight more runs in the third with two scoring on passed balls and two others on Sunapee errors.

“We’re relying on the hitting and everyone’s determined to get a hit,” said Heck.

WLC is 15-3 entering Wednesday night’s semifinal game with Profile. No. 2 Colebrook and No. 3 Woodsville will play in the other semifinal at 5 p.m.

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