Rain puts Merrimack, Nashua North softball on hold

Telegraph photo by TOM KING Nashua North's Abby Little slides home ahead of a throw to Merrimack pitcher Emma Camberlain during the game that was suspended by rain Monday with Merrimack leading 5-3 after four innings.

NASHUA – Both Nashua North coach Jenna Giannelli and Merrimack coach Greg Cochrane had the same goal on Monday afternoon.

They both wanted to get as many runs on the board as soon as possible and neither Giannelli nor Cochrane hesitated to do that, sending any and all baserunners at every chance possible.

It didn’t matter though as the softball tilt between North and Merrimack was suspended after three innings with Merrimack leading 5-3 due to heavy rain that intensified during the third inning and poor field conditions.

“My message was to stay focused,” Nashua North coach Jenna Giannelli said. “Sometimes the elements mess with them a little bit. I’ve just got to stay on them every inning. I give them a little tough love when it comes to things like this. It’s the show me you want to play, show me that drive, show me you’re in it type of mentality. Typically they respond well. I feel like a little bit of discouragement came when Merrimack got their bats going, but I also feel like on the receiving end we’re starting to get used to seeing something like that and responding better than we have in the past.”

The game will be resumed on Wednesday at 4 p.m. with Merrimack starting its fourth inning.

The first three innings were about what you would expect on a cold, disgusting afternoon.

North plated a run in the first inning without benefit of a hit and its second run in the second inning came in the same manner.

It was a combination of walks, stolen bases, passed balls and aggressive baserunning that resulted in a 3-0 lead for the Titans going to the third inning.

“We’re a very resilient group,” Merrimack coach Greg Cochrane said. “I don’t like to play this way, but we do tend to go down in some games but we always bring it back in the middle innings and this time, we weren’t waiting with the weather. We weren’t taking anything to chance. We were looking to get after it today.”

Merrimack came out in that frame and got on the board in the same way.

The Tomahawks got two of those runs back without the ball leaving the infield.

That changed though when Emma Camberlain blasted an opposite field three-run triple to give the visitors a 5-3 advantage.

“It was huge,” Cochrane said. “That’s our pitcher coming in there in a good spot, seeing a good pitch and driving it opposite field. That’s a good, solid hit. We have a lot of faith in her as a pitcher and hitter and she delivered as you saw.”

North pitcher Abigail Little induced a weak grounder to second to end the inning.

“I was very impressed (by Little),” Giannelli said. “She sometimes struggles to keep in a good mindset, so I was a little bit worried with her in the rain. She came out really strong. I think the more times she sees that mound now that she is a sophomore, the more comfortable she gets. I think she really pulled through for us today and kept a good handle on it.”

Camberlain pitched around a pair of walks in the bottom half of the third end the inning and afternoon.

That’s when the coaches convened and play was stopped.