Softball: Wilton-Lyndeborough earns spot in state championship game, faces Epping Saturday

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  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team played Profile in the NHIAA Division IV semifinals on Thursday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/6/2019 11:33:02 PM

The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team bashed their way to a 13-6 semifinal win over Profile on Thursday.

The third-seed Patriots (15-4) jumped out to a early lead as senior shortstop Hope Drake Duval clubbed a two-run homer to left center in the top of the first inning.

“We knew that girl can hit,” said WLC head coach Denny Claire. “She’s good. She’s the best hitter up north.”

But Warrior senior pitcher and back-to-back Division IV Player of the Year Lexi Balam induced a pair of popups to end the inning with no further damage.

Playing on Plymouth State’s D&M Field means a harsh setting sun in the fielders’ eyes, particularly on the left side, and it didn’t take long for it to become a factor. After Balam reached on a ball through the second baseman’s wickets to open the bottom of the first, stole second and took third on a throwaway, senior catcher Janel Bachand (3-4, 2 RBI, BB) popped one up to left field. The sun blinded left fielder Haley Hodgdon, the ball dropped, and Balam scored.

Profile pitcher Alexis Sellers throws a slow, arching ball, something Claire said his girls have struggled with.

“They look so big coming in – we’re not used to slow pitching,” Claire said.

The result was a lot of popups for Wilton, but with the blinding sun, it meant a lot of bloop hits.

Senior second baseman Rachel Christino (1-4, RBI, BB) hit another ball to left with the same result; it dropped in front of Hodgdon and set the table for senior first baseman Emma Skelly (2-3, RBI), who drove in Bachand with a single to right and tied the game.

Christino drove in another run on a fielders’ choice in the second, but it was the third where they earned their spot in the finals. Right fielder Madison Raymond (2-4, RBI) hit yet another bloop to left in the teeth of the setting sun to score Brooke Lane; Balam (2-3, 2 RBI, BB) smacked a two-run double, and Bachand found green in the Bermuda Triangle past second base to plate two more. The Warriors kept rolling, scoring on a pair of errors and a pair of RBI from Lane (1-3, RBI) and Abby Dowling (3-4, RBI) and putting up nine runs in the inning to take a commanding 12-2 lead.

Skelly knocked in another run in the fourth to conclude the Warriors’ offensive output, and despite the Patriots holding them scoreless for the rest of the way and scraping together four runs in the the fifth to cut into the lead, WLC cruised to a 13-6 final and a date with the Blue Devils.

“Now we’ve got to play real good,” Claire said. “To have a shot at this one, we can’t be making any mistakes. It’s going to be a battle.”


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