Published: 4/11/2022 11:35:15 PM
Modified: 4/11/2022 11:34:05 PM
LEBANON — Makayla Finnell earned the game ball Monday as the Lebanon High softball team’s standout performer. The senior smacked a single and a double in four at-bats, but it was what was required of her behind the plate during a 25-11 loss to Winnisquam that won her the yellow orb.
Forty-seven times, Finnell had to retrieve wild pitches that either advanced or scored Bears runners during the NHIAA Division III contest. She caught the entire six innings of a season opener that lasted nearly 2½ hours and during which the Raiders issued 24 walks and hit nine batters.
“She put up a really good fight and hustled for every ball that went past her,” said first-year Lebanon coach and school attendance secretary Bethany Robinson, who stepped in shortly before the season when no other suitable coach could be found. “But our pitchers have to work on their accuracy.”
Lebanon, which posted its best record in years last season at 3-10, committed four errors against a foe that went 0-12 a year ago. The Bears collected four hits and the Raiders eight. The hosts struck out seven times.
Rya Wykes started in the circle for Lebanon and departed after 1⅓ innings, having allowed one hit and 15 runs, 14 of them earned. The freshman struck out two Bears and walked 10.
Wykes was replaced by sophomore Abby Braley, who allowed three hits and 10 runs, all earned, during a 4⅓-inning stint in which she struck out two foes and walked 10. Junior Ashlee Blashock faced the final two batters.
“Rya’s pretty green, so we’re working on honing her accuracy and trying to build her stamina,” said Robinson, who’s taken over a program that last season snapped a 44-game losing streak under her predecessor, Ray Pettersen. “It’s going to be a matter of what we can do with our pitchers without wearing them down.”
Blashock had two singles and Wykes drew three walks for Lebanon, which visits Inter-Lakes (0-1) on Friday in the first of three consecutive road contests.
“The girls were able to stay out of their heads and they didn’t get down,” Robinson said. “This season is really about character building and fundamentals. As soon as pressure gets added, you see little wobbles in our game, but we’ll keep pounding away and things will get better.”
MANCHESTER, Vt. – Peyton Richardson struck out 11 batters and had three hits to lift the Yellowjackets during their season opener. Sydney Perry recorded hits in all five of her at-bats, including a sixth-inning triple and Brianna Barton also tripled for the visitors. Windsor hosts Thetford on Saturday.
MANCHESTER – Brendan Kwaku posted three goals and an assist and D.H. Hendrick rang up a hat trick, but the Bears dropped their season opener.
Brendan Logan had a goal, an assist and 10 ground balls for the visitors during the NHIAA Division II contest. Senior Max Galbraith, a onetime baseball and basketball player, made nine saves during his high school lacrosse debut and Jack Gardner scooped up 10 ground balls, although Hanover coach Ryan Gardner said that facet was one in which Manchester held a clear edge.
Hanover, which also struggled clearing the ball, visits Merrimack Valley on Monday.
BURLINGTON – Elliot Rupp had five goals, two assists and 13 ground balls and Sophie Howe added four goals and three assists as the Hurricanes dominated their season opener near Lake Champlain. Madison Barwood had three goals and two assists and Grace Gardner and Alice Piper also scored for Hartford, which received four saves from Makenzie Arnold and hosts Brattleboro on Wednesday.
HANOVER — The host Bears received NHIAA Division I singles victories from Evan Yang, Kevin Pillsbury, Charlie Birkmeyer, Zach Pearson and Ming Liu. The latter posted his first varsity victory for Hanover, which also enjoyed doubles triumphs by the pairing of Yang-Alex Rockmore, Pillsbury-Birkmeyer and Pearson-Ryder Wilson.
The Bears (2-0) visit Salem on Tuesday.
CLAREMONT – The Cardinals, featuring players mostly new to tennis, dropped their NHIAA Division III home opener at Monadnock Park. forfeiting at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles. Stevens hosts Wilton-Lyndenborough (0-2) on Wednesday.
NASHUA – The visitors reeled in NHIAA Division I singles victories by Eleanor van Aalst, Rachel Rockmore, Mackenzie Liu, Natalie Feyer and Campbell White. The Bears improved to 2-0 while dropping Nashua South to 0-3. Hanover, which received doubles points from the pairings of van Aalst-Rockmore, Liu-Feyer and Shayna Rockmore-White, rides the bus back to Nashua on Wednesday to play North (2-0).