NHIAA Softball: Top-seeded Concord advances to finals
HOOKSETT — The top four seeds made the semifinals.
Form held again on Thursday night at Southern New Hampshire University and No. 1 Concord and No. 2 Timberlane survived and will play for the Division I softball championship back here on Saturday.
Concord got ahead of No. 4 Salem early and played good defense and held on for a 4-2 win in the nightcap. Timberlane stopped Dover, 4-1, in the first semifinal.
The Crimson Tide, seeking its first title since 2009 and in its first championship game since 2011, beat Timberlane, 6-4, earlier in the season.
The Crimson Tide struck quickly for a run in the bottom of the first. Katelyn Kennard reached on a two-out error. Jessica Carroll doubled to knock in Isabel Stoddard, who was on to run for Kennard.
"We came out aggressively," said Concord coach Duke Sawyer. "I felt we were the veteran team this year and we came out and put pressure on them. That's an old Salem trick when they have a veteran team put a lot of pressure on you."
Concord added another run in the bottom of the fourth when Carroll reached on an infield hit. A double by junior Danielle Morin knocked in the run.
The Crimson Tide doubled its lead to 4-0 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. An Amy Morin RBI double was the big blow.
"They didn't jump on us a bit, they jumped on us a big bit," said Salem coach Harold Sachs. "It was 4-0 and we hadn't hit a ball hard yet. But I have to be proud of the fact we didn't give up. There's no quit in this team."
Salem got two runs back in the top of the sixth and then threatened again in the seventh.
Brianna Rastello had a leadoff single and Rachel Murphy drilled a double down the right field line to put runners on second and third in the sixth.
Morin came on for senior starter Kennard. Rastello scored on a wild pitch. Morrill got an infield pop out and then Murphy scored on Hannah Latham's fielder's choice.
A foul ball pop to third ended the inning.
Brittany Wallace's leadoff single and a one-out error put two runners on first and second for the Blue Devils in the seventh.
Morrill, with a fly out to left and a ground out to the mound, did not let them get any further.
Kennard, who retired the first 11 batters she faced, allowed three hits and Morrill one. The Crimson Tide collected eight hits.
Salem finished at 16-5.
Concord improves to 19-2 and moves on to the title game.