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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Emily Paquin’s performance lifts Campbell to softball semifinals

LITCHFIELD – Emily Paquin got over the injury bug just in time for the tournament, and Prospect Mountain High School’s softball team wasn’t too happy about it.

Campbell High School’s senior pitcher kept the 11th-seeded Timberwolves’ offense in check Monday – striking out 12, walking two and allowing one run on three hits – as the third-seeded Cougars (15-3) cruised to a 5-1 Division III quarterfinal win. ...

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LITCHFIELD – Emily Paquin got over the injury bug just in time for the tournament, and Prospect Mountain High School’s softball team wasn’t too happy about it.

Campbell High School’s senior pitcher kept the 11th-seeded Timberwolves’ offense in check Monday – striking out 12, walking two and allowing one run on three hits – as the third-seeded Cougars (15-3) cruised to a 5-1 Division III quarterfinal win.

A win that sends coach Joe Raycraft’s Cougars back to Plymouth State University for a semifinal meeting with No. 2 Conant (18-0) at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

“We’re excited about going back to Plymouth,” Raycraft said. “That was our goal for today’s game, to win and get back to Plymouth. Anything can happen when you get up there. We showed that last year, and we’re happy to go back.”

Getting back to the final four was relatively easy with Paquin in the circle.

Prospect Mountain (12-6) had just one hit through six innings, that coming on a second-inning single off the bat of Indiana Jones. The Timberwolves left fielder also had a leg in the team’s only run of the game. Jones (2 for 3) led off the seventh inning with a single and came around to score on a Deanna Misiaszek triple.

That’s as much as Paquin would allow as she struck out the next three batters to close out the win.

“It was a great performance by her,” Raycraft said. “She really played well and knew exactly what she needed to do out there. She’s a good control pitcher – doesn’t walk a lot of batters – makes them put the ball in play, and hopefully we can play solid defense behind her.”

The Cougars were solid behind her, with only one error in the field compared to eight by Timberwolves fielders.

Campbell took advantage of the Prospect Mountain miscues, combining those with 12 hits to score at least one run in each of the first four innings.

Hannah Neild had a one-out double and scored on a Brittany McNulla single for a 1-0 lead after one inning. In the second inning, Emma Kuczowski reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to second on a Lauren King single and scored on a Neild single for a 2-0 advantage after two innings.

Campbell added another run in the third frame when Amber Gibbons traded places with Paquin at second base after the pitcher had helped her own cause with a lead-off double. The Cougars final two runs came in the fourth inning, as Kuczowski led off with a walk, King singled and Neild loaded the bases with a fielder’s choice, as King slid safely into second base on a throw that was slightly off the mark. McNulla then walked home a run as Kuczowski crossed the plate and Paquin hit a sacrifice-fly to left field scoring King.

While Campbell was steadily putting runs on the board, Prospect Mountain coach Rick Burley was confused by his team’s lack of offense.

“Not taking anything away from their pitcher, but we’ve seen better,” said Burley in reference to Paquin’s performance. “It just wasn’t our day for hitting, I guess. She just kept us at bay for some reason. We struck out 11 times, but regardless, they put the ball in play and we didn’t. We had eight errors.

“You’re not going to win a game with eight errors.”