Baseball: Zina, Mascenic shut out Conant at home

  • Mascenic’s Shea Zina slides in safe at home as the ball squirts away from Conant catcher Colson Seppala during Thursday’s game. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic baseball team hosted Conant on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Spencer Dilda gets a kill for Mascenic during the boys' volleyball team's 3-0 win over Souhegan Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/14/2021 3:06:21 PM

Mascenic’s ace senior pitcher Shea Zina gave Conant all they could handle at the plate Thursday, but even with Zina’s complete-game three-hitter, the Orioles had a chance to turn things their way during an error-filled fifth inning. However, just as Mascenic’s mistakes let Conant back into the game, the Orioles let their own breakdowns take them right back out of it.

“Sometimes the baseball gods are with you,” said Conant head coach Aric LeClair after Thursday’s 6-0 Mascenic victory, “and other times, they’re against you. They’ve been against us for the last three, four weeks.”

Zina set the tone for the Vikings, picking up where he left off in Tuesday’s relief appearance in Jaffrey by setting down the side in order and then leading off the bottom of the first with a double that hit high off the centerfield wall in the deepest part of Mascenic’s home field.

Viking head coach Jared Stauffeneker said he recently moved Zina from the third spot in the order up to leadoff to get him going at the plate, a tactic the Vikings employed successfully in 2019.

“We did it two years ago and he started hitting the ball,” Stauffeneker said, “so we were trying to try to get him going again, because he’s been struggling a little bit early on, but he’ll figure it out. And he did today – he hit the ball hard a few times.”

Zina took third on a Hayes Pearson grounder and then scored on a wild pitch by Conant starter Griffin Labonte (3 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 ER). He’d single again in the third and score on a Blaine Krook fielder’s choice to put Mascenic up 2-0, and with Zina cruising on the mound, it looked like that score might carry through to the end.

In the fourth, however, the Orioles had their chance to break things open. Kace Aho and Zach Lovett reached on back-to-back Mascenic errors and then advanced on a wild pitch to set leadoff man Malique Motuzas up with the tying run on second and no outs. Motuzas, hesitant to drop down a bunt against Zina’s fireball, struck out swinging and headed back for the dugout, unaware that catcher Jack Cocozella had dropped the third strike. He turned back for first, too late, as Cocozella threw down to first and got Motuzas; Aho tried to score during that confusion, but was gunned down at the plate by first baseman Blaine Krook for an unorthodox strike-him-out-throw-him-out-throw-him-out double play. Zina forced a popout to end the inning and the threat.

The Orioles have certainly cut down on their mental and physical mistakes since the beginning of the year, but they still need to clean up a bit before the postseason. Fortunately, LeClair said, they have the right attitude to make that happen.

“No matter how many mistakes we make, we don’t get down on ourselves and we come out still swinging and still trying to make the plays,” LeClair said. “So that’s a bonus – a lot of guys would just give up. These boys have a lot of heart and will to pick up from their mistakes and hopefully just truck on and make the next play.”

Mascenic added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth on a Ryan O’Shea two-run single off reliever Kace Aho (3 IP, 2 ER, 2K, 2 BB, 5 H) and then added two more in the sixth on back-to-back-doubles from Zina (3-4, RBI, 2 2B, 2 R) and Jack Cocozella (1-2, 2B, RBI, 2 BB).

“That’s kind of been the story of our season so far,” Stauffeneker said. “We struggle for three, four innings and then we see a guy for a second or third time and we started hitting the ball hard.”

Labonte, Hayden Ketola and Colson Seppala had Conant’s three hits off Zina, who finished the complete game shutout win, allowing two walks while fanning seven. On the season, the Franklin Pierce-bound hurler is averaging nearly two strikeouts per inning, with a 1.03 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP. Between Tuesday’s relief appearance and Thursday’s start, the workhorse threw 10 shutout innings and allowed just three hits against Mascenic’s biggest rival.

“Honestly, that’s probably going to be the best guy we face all year,” LeClair said.

Mascenic (6-2) is at Monadnock Tuesday. Conant (2-6) plays a pair of upper division JV teams next week, with Souhegan Tuesday and Keene Friday, and then wraps up the following week with a pair against Wilton-Lyndeborough.

SOFTBALL

Mascenic 13, Conant 1

Lexis Vautour threw a three-hitter of her own against Conant Thursday on the softball diamond, allowing just one earned run in a five-inning 12-run rule victory over the Orioles. Vautour struck out four and walked two in the win.

Conant actually struck first to take the lead in the first inning on a double by Mylie Aho that scored Rylee Herr, but Mascenic scored two in the second, three in the third and six in the fourth to blow the game open.

Ella Pearson (3-4, 3 RBI), Leah St. John (3-4, 2 RBI), Allison Adams (3-4, 2 RBI), Kenzie Cormier (1-3, 2 RBI), Emma Cargill (1-3, 2 RBI), Xaria Talbot and Delaney Traffie drove in runs for Mascenic.

Becca Thibaudeau took the loss for Conant. Herr, Aho and Tessa Spingola had hits for Conant.

Mascenic (8-1) is at Monadnock Tuesday. Conant (5-6) is at Keene Friday.

Keene 7, WLC 0

The Warriors lost to a tough Keene JV team Friday.

“Our offense was lacking but are beginning to show signs of life,” coach Scott Dowling said.

Emily Dubois had seven strikeouts on the mound for WLC and “really found herself and her confidence tonight,” Dowling said.

Abby Dowling singled and stole two bases, and Tiffany Cuddihy had another for the Warriors.

WLC (1-8) was set to host Hinsdale Monday after press time and then play at Hinsdale Friday.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

ConVal 10, Lebanon 9 (OT)

The Cougars pulled off a nice overtime win at Lebanon Wednesday. ConVal was down by two with two minutes left, but came back and tied the game with 30 seconds left thanks to a goal from Molly Dishong.

Thanks to a pair of yellow cards, ConVal entered the overtime period down two players, but Anna Taylor won the draw, evaded four Lebanon defenders and found Julia Donovan, who scored the winning goal.

Donovan had a hat trick in the game; Ella Dishong had two goals and Sarah Holdredge made 10 saves.

“Defense as whole caused turnovers when we really needed it at the end of the game,” head coach Derek Sorbello said, “to help put us in the position to win.”

 

Pelham 12, ConVal 2

Friday’s game wasn’t nearly as exciting, Sorbello said, as the Pythons kept ConVal quiet. Holdredge made 12 saves. 

ConVal (3-4) was set to play at Milford Monday and host the Spartans Friday. 

BOYS’ LACROSSE

ConVal 5, Pelham 3

The Cougars pulled off a big win over Pelham on Senior Night Thursday.

Head coach Terry McNamara said the team was able to draw up some major adjustments after losing to Pelham earlier in the week; defensive coordinator Paul Finley reworked the defense to adapt to Pelham’s open set offense,, he said, and the players executed it perfectly, and applied new man-up plays on offense to change their look. 

 “Those new plays accounted for most of our scoring today,” McNamara said. 

Sophomore goalie Nick Squatrito “absolutely stood on his head,” McNamara said, backing up the defense with a save percentage over 90%

Pelham locked off top scorer Ronan McNamara, opening things up for the rest of the offense. Cody Siegel got his first varsity goal and played excellent midfield defense, also taking face-offs. Senior Griffin Filaski brought the heat on Senior Night and scored two powerful shots from outside. Junior Ethan Weber also had a  goal. Ronan McNamara added one when he managed to get his hands free on a man up opportunity.

ConVal (4-3) hosts Campbell on Monday. 

GIRLS’ TENNIS

WLC drops two, but improves

The Warriors were back in action with a pair of matches last week. WLC dropped their first of the week to Stevens, 7-2, with wins coming from No. 1 Elisabeth Jacob (9-8, 9-7) in singles and a No. 2 doubles win for the team of Madaleine Straw and Senja Sours. 

Head coach Fran Bujak said the girls were close at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles, nearly grabbing another two games.

WLC went on to be swept 9-0 by Moultonborough Friday.

The Warriors were set to host Stevens Monday and play at Conant Tuesday.


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