Titans get yet another softball win over Panthers
NASHUA – There’s something about the sight of the Nashua High School South softball team that brings out the best in the Nashua North Titans, even in a down year.
Under third year head coach Jenna Giannelli, North is 5-0 against the Panthers, including Saturday’s 12-6 win in the annual Battle of the Bridge.
“We always come out and perform against South,” Giannelli said, her team now just 2-11 on the season after five losses by three runs or less. “North typically takes it. That’s history, right?”
“I’ve played with half the girls on South at Elm Street,” said North slugger Alexis Miranda, who keyed the win going 4 for 4 with a walk and four RBIs, reaching base five times. “This game helps us.”
Miranda, who played for South coach Kevin Handy in travel team ball, is hitting around .600 for the year and helped the Titans get to a 7-0 lead with RBI hits in the first,third and fifth. But the Panthers came back off Titans complete game winner Emily Blondin with six runs on seven hits in the fifth to close to 7-6.
But, as usual, the North pulled away with another Miranda RBI hit in the sixth and tacked on four more on an infield hit, error and five walks in the seventh.
Handy, his team now 1-10 and losers of nine straight, took solace in the fact his team didn’t quit down seven runs early.
“That’s huge, especially against North,” Handy said. “Everybody wants this game. I’m so proud of the ladies. … Especially down 7-0. We got back there. But those runs add up though.”
The Titans did their damage off three South pitchers: starter Elizabeth Thibeault and relievers Erica Frothingham and Natalie Ward. The trio allowed 12 Titan hits and issued seven walks and hit a batter, often frustrated with what they and Handy perceived as a tight strike zone.
On the flip side,North’s Blondin escaped two on, none out situations in the first two innings, and allowed 11 hits (seven in that one frame) walking three. South’s Ward went 2 for 2 with an RBI and reached base four times, and key blows in that big fifth were back-to-back RBI doubles by Alexis Roberge and Kyleigh Guerette.
But North, Miranda, and Blondin survived. They also got two big RBI doubles by Lizzie Deck., who follows Miranda in the lineup. Because Handy knows Miranda so well, Gianelli moved her from third in the order to the cleanup spot to help prevent the Panthers from walking her.
“She has a lot of big RBIs this season,”Giannelli said, also giving kudos to Blondon for not letting the fifth inning Panther explosion get to her.
“Emily is so strong mentally,” Giannelli said. “I’ve always said if we could put Emily’s brain into all of our players, we’d be unstoppable.”
But unfortunately, neither team is this season – but Saturday brought out the best in both.
“This was one of our best games all season long,” Handy said. “Just the way they hit the ball, they ran, just a couple of tough calls for us here and there, but this was just an awesome game.
“This is like a state title atmosphere, almost. Everyone wants this, everyone knows each other. That’s why we have seniors crying. This was their last Battle of the Bridge ever, and it’s tough because they wanted it.”
And were tired of losing to the Titans.