Campbell routs Berlin in softball semifinal
PLYMOUTH – When you’re playing a big game and your opponent is giving, TAKE.
The fourth-ranked Campbell High softball team stepped into its Division III semifinal playoff game at Plymouth State University on Friday night aiming to upend the top-seeded Berlin Mountaineers. And truth be told, the Berlin bunch was its own worst enemy in what ended up being a pretty stunning 7-0 Campbell victory.
The Cougars did masterful, aggressive work in taking full advantage of no less than six Berlin fielding miscues in the first three innings. And the top-seeded Mountaineers were never able to overcome those frustrating mistakes, with winning pitcher Maddie Davis and her smooth defense giving them still more reasons to feel
Campbell will be right back on Chase Field there at PSU to face off with number seven Hopkinton in the D-3 title game tomorrow afternoon at 2.
“I’m very pleased,” said Campbell’s third-year coach Eric Gibbons. “We’ve worked very hard, watched a lot of film on them, knew what we had to do, and we did it.”
Berlin began the game sloppily, committing two errors in the top of the first and helping the Cougars to one quick run. That scored when Abi Gray smacked a lead-off single, stole second, moved to third on a throwing error, and scored on the second error.
Cougars’ hurler Maddie Davis allowed a two-out triple to her opposite number – Berlin pitcher Samantha McCann – in the bottom of that frame but the Mountaineers failed to get her home from third base.
And the top half of the third inning was an absolute nightmare for Berlin and a real rush for Campbell, which scored five times on four hits and four more Mountaineer errors.
The markers scored on a successful bunt, an infield error, an error by the Berlin catcher, an RBI single by Meghan Gibbons, and the last came in on an Ally McKenna single. Three of the five runs were unearned.
Buoyed by the big lead, Campbell pitcher Davis just rolled on. She forced Berlin to leave two runners in scoring position without scoring in the third. She gave up a hit here and there but never really allowed the Mountaineers a legitimate hope of coming back from their sizable deficit. And the top seed wound up stranding some five runners on base.
The Campbell lead grew to 7-0 in the top of the sixth – yes, with the help of a seventh Berlin error – when McKenna singled, stole second, and eventually scored on a miscue by the opposing catcher.
Winning hurler Davis wound up going the distance, striking out six hitters while walking just one and allowing only five hits.
Campbell’s offense bashed out some eight safeties with Gray, Gibbons, and McKenna each knocking two. Just two of the locals’ seven runs wound up being earned, but when you’re taking advantage of an opponent’s woes in a big playoff game and playing about as smooth as silk yourself, who cares?
“Defense is kind of my specialty, and we work hard at it to have clean games,” said coach Gibbons. “Our goal tonight was to make sure their first two batters didn’t get on to start the game and to score first. And we took care of that.”
Campbell rolled into the semifinals as the division’s number four seed and boasting a 15-3 overall record. Coach Gibbons’ Cougar crew started its 2019 campaign with a pretty astounding 11-0 record before slumping some in going just 2-3 in its final five battles to wind up at 13-3. The locals then knocked off number 13 Winnisquam in the preliminary round and number five Bishop Brady in the quarterfinals to reach the semis.
Top-ranked Berlin stepped into semifinal-round play with a 16-1 overall record and 15 straight wins, including its quarterfinal success over number eight Monadnock. Campbell and Berlin did not face off during the regular season.
The Cougar softball program has produced some four state championships, with the last coming in 2015. That was also the last time Campbell played in a title game.