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Mascenic softball back to winning ways; baseball looking for hits

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Prospect Mountain on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, April 22, 2019 2:0PM

The Mascenic softball team seeks their fourth straight Final Four appearance this spring, as they’ve ridden some hot bats and the lights-out pitching of senior Madison Labrie to a 3-1 start in Division III. And though they’ve become a perennial powerhouse in recent years, the Vikings know they’ll have to earn what they get.

“We can’t expect to make it to the Final Four,” Labrie said after Friday’s 5-0 win over Prospect Mountain. “Just because we’ve made it there in the past doesn’t mean we are going to make it this year. It’s going to take a lot of work.”

Labrie, the reigning Pitcher of the Year, mowed down 14 Timberwolves in Friday’s shutout, striking out the side in each of the first three innings and allowing just three hits in the game. Her dominance on the mound allowed the Vikings to textbook their way to a win – a Shelby Babin leadoff walk, a Becka Staton bunt and a Sam Hughson single, combined with four first-inning stolen bases, had Mascenic up three after one. Prospect Mountain had only one runner get as far as second base, on an error, and the Vikings cruised.

Mascenic’s experienced veterans – seniors Labrie and Braelyn Case, juniors Hughson, Babin, Avery McClain and Tori Cardinal – are joined by a handful of youngsters and a few girls new to softball.

“We have a lot of girls who have never really played before but they’re all really good athletes,” Labrie said. “It’s going to be a really fun season. I would say we’re pretty close as a team already.”

Soccer star Jasmine Williams and cheerleader Selena Tremblay bring their blazing speed to the Vikings’ bench this season, with Tremblay even making a start in left field Friday; field hockey/swimming standouts Bella and Emma Knisley bring their passion, and now it’s simply a matter of bringing the newcomers up to speed in game situations.

Mascenic’s one stumble so far this year was a 5-4 loss at undefeated Campbell, but this early in the year, the Vikings can treat that as a lesson learned. 

“It’s a tough season,” Case said. “You’re going to have ups and downs, and you just have to get over it and do it.”

On Wednesday, Labrie capped off Mascenic’s 15-3 win over Newport with an over-the-fence grand slam homer. Labrie finished 3-4 with six RBI and pitched four innings, striking out eight, allowing one earned run, three hits and a walk. Becka Staton was 2-4 with three RBI and Shelby Babin went 3-4 with one RBI.

Mascenic (3-1) is off for vacation week and returns to action at Conant (1-2) next Monday.

BASEBALL

Prospect Mountain 5,
Mascenic 1

Three Mascenic errors in the first inning handed Prospect Mountain an early run on Friday afternoon and cast a gloomy pall over the rest of the contest.

“That kind of just set the tone,” said Vikings’ coach Jared Stauffeneker. Mascenic made another outfield error in the fourth that gave Prospect Mountain two more runs; Shea Zina would walk and eventually steal home in the bottom of the fourth, but it was the only run Mascenic would score as the bats continue to lie dormant in the early spring.

“TJ [Hiott] pitched a great game, he gave us five strong innings – in reality, we should have been up 1-0,” Stauffeneker said. “Those two errors in the outfield turned out to be huge.”

Hiott went five innings, allowing four hits and striking out two before giving way to Landen Vaillancourt, who pitched the final two innings in relief. Vaillancourt struck out two in the sixth but then hit two batters in the seventh and then allowed a big two-run single to push Prospect’s lead to 5-1.

“It’s been the same all three losses,” said Mascenic’s first-year co-coach Jalen Rines. “Close games and at the end they just put the dagger in.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Mascenic got a double to the gap by senior Ethan Bilodeau (2-3) and a single from Sean Agonis, but couldn’t plate another runner.

“We’re starting to figure out how to hit the ball,” Stauffeneker said, “but we need to start stringing them together.”

“We just need to be smarter at the plate, pitch decision on what to swing at, what not to swing at and execute what we call for signs,” Rines said. “Other than today, our defense has done really well.”

Bilodeau has been the standout so far at the plate in his senior season, notching a hit in each game to date and leading the team in batting average. He and the rest of Mascenic’s seniors, Hiott and first baseman/pitcher Justin Smith, will look to set an example for the young Viking team. Aside from junior Dylan Vaillancourt at second, nearly all the rest of the lineup is comprised of sophomores and freshman.

The Vikings tore it up against Newport Wednesday, taking the lead for good in the second inning and then scoring six in the fifth to seal the blowout.

Sean Agonis, Dylan Vaillancourt, Jackson Cocozella, Shea Zina and Ethan Bilodeau had hits for Mascenic. 

Zina pitched six innings with eight strikeouts and Landen Vaillancourt pitched a scoreless seventh.

Mascenic (1-3) is at Conant next Monday.