Softball: Mascenic weathers Conant comeback for rivalry playoff win

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Mascenic’s Leah St. John and Kenzie Cormier celebrate after Cormier threw a Conant runner out at third during Monday’s game. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic softball team hosted Conant to open the NHIAA Division III playoffs on Monday, May 31, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/1/2021 11:56:11 AM

The Orioles battled to the bitter end during Monday’s Division III playoff opener at Mascenic, but Conant never overcame their early seven-run deficit, and the Vikings held on for a 7- 4 win. 

Mascenic (14-2) beat Conant (10-7) four times during the regular season, but Viking coach Dutch Stauffeneker made sure his team wasn’t taking a playoff win for granted.

“I was really nervous about this game,” Stauffeneker said. “I was nervous about us having a mental letdown, ‘we’ve already beaten them four times, we’ll just show up’ kind of thing. So we talked about coming out with energy. It’s win or go home at this point – what you’ve done prior means nothing.”

The Vikings came out energized, indeed, batting around in the first and second innings and scoring seven runs off Conant starter Graecen Kirby, with senior Allison Adams (2-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI) leading the charge and a pair of two-out RBI hits from senior Xaria Talbot and starting pitcher Lyla Buxton. 

“[Kirby] got a little hectic, and we didn’t play that well behind her,” Conant coach Wiley Billings said.

Meanwhile, Buxton was dealing on the mound, striking out the side in the first and second and not allowing a hit until the fifth, and the Vikings looked to be cruising toward an easy playoff victory. But in a rivalry like this one, it’s never over. 

The freshman Kirby settled down after those first two innings, getting ahead in counts and shutting out the Vikings the rest of the way, striking out eight. Stauffeneker said the Conant pitcher made her living on the outside corner during the regular season but adjusted to keep the Mascenic hitters off balance on Monday. 

“She changed things during the course of the game,” Stauffeneker said. “She was kind of fooling us where she was more coming inside later in the game where we were looking away.”

Conant made some adjustments at the plate, too, and finally got to Buxton by moving up in the batter’s box. In the sixth, the Orioles broke through. Tessa Spingola led off with a double and scored on a triple from speedy third baseman Rylee Herr. Teagan Kirby followed that with another RBI triple and then scored on a single by sister Graecen. Kaylee Karns drove in the pinch runner Madelynn Bergeron, and all of a sudden, it was 7-4 Mascenic.

“We battled back,” Billings said. “I liked it.”

With one out in the sixth and the tying run at the plate, the Vikings turned to freshman Katalina Davis to close things out. Davis came in and got out of the jam, and aside from a seventh-inning walk, she kept Conant quiet and allowed Mascenic to close out the win.

“Kat did a great job coming into that situation,” Stauffeneker said. “I’m glad there weren’t two more innings in that game! But Kat was throwing pretty well.”

The Orioles’ season – which Billings called the best he’s had in his time at Conant – is over, but the future is promising. Only one player, Becca Thibaudeau, is graduating, and the stellar Class of 2022 will be in their senior season next year, with plenty of help.

“I’ve got the whole squad coming back,” Billings said. “I'm excited about next year. I’ve got a good eighth-grade group coming up. I'm excited about everything. Graecen is a freshman, she’s only going to get better.”

Mascenic was scheduled for a second-round matchup at Bishop Brady Wednesday. The Green Giants were the only Division III team to beat the Vikings this season with a 16-6 win back on May 21, but Stauffeneker didn’t show Brady everything Mascenic had that day and has hopes for a better outcome this time around, with his stable of pitchers at the ready to give the Giants a different look.

BASEBALL

Conant 3, Bishop Brady 2 (9 innings)

The Route 124 rivalry will be revisited yet again Thursday, after Conant upset Bishop Brady to advance to an NHIAA Division III tournament showdown at Mascenic. 

It took nine innings for the Orioles to get the job done in Concord Tuesday.

“It was a nailbiter!” said Conant head coach Aric LeClair. 

The Orioles took a 2-1 lead in the second inning on a two-RBI single from senior Hayden Ketola. DIII Player of the Year Connor Treybig tied the game for Brady with an RBI single off Garrett Somero in the fourth, and from there, the two teams battled into extra innings. 

Brady lead off the eighth with a double off reliever Luke Lambert and had the winning run on third base with one out, but Lambert induced a pop-up bunt on a suicide squeeze and doubled the runner up at third to end the threat. 

In the ninth, Somero reached on an error and scored on an overthrow to third to put Conant up 3-2.

Brady loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth before LeClair brought in Jordan Ketola to finish the job. Ketola struck out the first batter he faced and then forced Treybig to pop out to Malique Motuzas to end the game. 

Conant plays at Mascenic Thursday at 4 p.m. for a Division III prelim round game. The Vikings had a first-round bye. 

 

Derryfield 8, WLC 0

The Warriors just couldn’t break through against the Cougars Monday afternoon in the Division IV playoff opener, despite loading the bases with no outs in a 0-0 game in the fourth inning.

“Then, the ice broke,” head coach Tom Brennan said.

Derryfield scored eight straight from there and ended WLC’s season.

“We need work,” Brennan said, “but [we have] no seniors.”

 


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