Freshman hurler leads Timberlane to title
HOOKSETT - Jon Hoadley's allegiances were torn. But just a little.
He was part of a state Class L baseball championship at Concord High School in 1980 and on Saturday his daughter, Kate, pitched for Timberlane Regional of Plaistow in the Division I softball championship game against his alma mater.
Thanks in large part to Kate Hoadley, a freshman who was not in the pitching picture for coach Jim Clavette before the season began, the Owls knocked off his old school, 4-1, for its second Division I title and first since 2008.
"I told her to enjoy it because you never know if you'll be back to the championship," said Jon Hoadley, who didn't play for a title after winning one as a freshman.
Kate Hoadley and the Owls took advantage of their opportunity. And enjoyed the result immensely.
"What I like is, we're very young," Clavette said. "We lose four seniors. You do it for the kids and these kids are just phenomenal."
Clavette talked up Hoadley, who quickly pitched her way to the top of the rotation in tryouts and scrimmages, after Wednesday's semifinal win over Dover.
He was talking her up again after Saturday's super effort.
"She's mentally very, very strong," Clavette said.
She showed it.
"She mixed up her pitches very well," said Concord coach Duke Sawyer. "She got out of jam after jam. As young as she is, I'm surprised we didn't rattle her a little bit."
Hoadley struck out eight and walked just one batter.
Concord outhit Timberlane 10-7. It didn't help.
"We just didn't get the timely hits," said Concord High senior starting pitcher Katie Kennard, who had three hits. "We got people on. We just didn't put them together. It happens some days. Kudos to her."
Timberlane, the No. 2 seed, finished the season 19-3. No. 1 Concord, which won its most recent of five titles in 2009, was also 19-3.
The Owls jumped in front early.
Standout senior shortstop Masha Lange, who had two hits, ripped a two-out single to left field in the top of the first inning. Sophomore first baseman Madison Bishop quickly knocked her in with a home run over the left field fence on a 1-0 pitch.
"It was early," Sawyer said. "We scored a lot of runs this year. I wasn't crazy about it, but I wasn't that concerned. I thought we'd come back better and score more."
Hoadley and her sharp defense were having none of it.
Timberlane tacked on a couple more in the fourth on Christina Nye's two-run double to center field that scored Allison Collins, who had a pair of hits, and Emily Barrett.
Concord left six runners on base through the first three innings.
Hoadley kept bearing down.
Kennard and Dani Morrill singled to lead off the third. But Hoadley struck out the next two batters and got Cassidy Emerson on a liner to center field.
Hoadley said she doesn't get nervous.
"No, not really," she said. "Just bear down and get the next batter."
She struck out the side in the fourth to run her string to five strikeouts over six batters.
The Crimson Tide got on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Kennard delivered her third single of the game with one out and scored on Morrill's double to the gap in right center.
Hoadley got a fly ball to center and pop out to shortstop to end the inning.
Concord threatened - and was shut down - one last time in the seventh.
Katherine Muzzey led off with a single and moved to second on a fielder's choice. Morrill followed with another single - her third hit - to make it first and third with one out.
Hoadley first got a pop to Lange at shortstop and then a fly ball to right field to end it.
In short order, she and her Owl teammates, along with her Dad, were enjoying that title.