The Londonderry High softball squad has seen a bunch of peaks and valleys in its campaign thus far this spring.
After winning their season-opening contest against the Pinkerton Academy Lady Astros, the team lost three consecutive games and then won four in a row. But as it looked to push its winning streak forward, one awful inning left the Lady Lancers with a frustrating loss.
The local squad bagged its fourth consecutive victory and bounced its season record up to a solid 5-3 Thursd
ay, April 30, with a 9-0 crushing of the Concord High Crimson Tide at LHS that featured a Herculean individual performance from Melissa Sprague.
Not only did Sprague toss a beautiful, three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts in her pitching role for her squad, she also equaled Concord’s entire hitting output all by herself in bashing three safeties and driving in five of her team’s nine runs.
The victorious hosts smacked out nine hits, with freshman Lauren Misiaszek knocking two and driving in two runs and four other players tallying singles.
Sprague advanced her personal 2015 pitching mark to 3-1 with her excellent effort in the circle.
And the Londonderry crew appeared poised to bag consecutive win number five against a scuffling Merrimack High contingent that entered last Friday’s game at LHS having lost three of its last four games and sporting a sub-par record of 3-5.
But the Lady Tomahawks put forth a comeback late and headed home with a 9-3 victory.
Lancer freshman pitcher Maryellen Leach struggled with the strike zone some, but she headed into the top half of the seventh inning seeking to preserve her squad’s decent 3-1 lead.
Merrimack plated the first run of the day in the top half of the first inning, but the visitors wouldn’t score again for quite some time.
The Lady Lancers answered their opponent’s early marker with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the first, with Val Shay hammering a leadoff triple and then scoring on a fielder’s choice by Sprague, and Justine McElman sprinting home on a single by Liz DeVoss.
That was it on the scoring until the bottom half of the sixth – with Merrimack leaving seven runners stranded on bases in the second through fifth frames – as Londonderry nudged its lead up to 3-1 with one more run on three hits.
The one LHS marker got home, thanks to an RBI double off the bat of Katrina Rivard.
But the top half of the seventh inning wound up being an utter nightmare for the LHS girls, who watched their opponents plate eight runs on six hits and six bases on balls.
Lady Lancers’ pitcher Leach and her catcher, Rachel Simkevich, both left the game with minor injuries before the inning was over, and when it had been completed the hosts found themselves facing a 9-3 deficit.
The Lancer girls mashed out two more hits in the bottom half of the seventh frame, but 9-3 was where the score remained.
Both sides smacked out nine total hits, with the Lady Lancers receiving two apiece from Shay and Rivard in a losing effort.
But the Lady Lancers rid themselves of any lingering feelings of frustration this past Monday afternoon with a 25-0 pummeling of the winless Nashua South Purple Panthers in the Gate City.
As one might guess, the game only went five innings, with now 6-4 Londonderry scoring five times in the first, five more times in the second, and 12 times in the third inning en route to the blowout.
South pitching surrendered an astounding 18 walks, and freshman Leach bounced back from the arm trouble that hastened her exit from the Merrimack game by smacking five hits and driving in six runs.
The LHS side banged out 18 hits, with Sprague smacking four of them (with two RBI) and Andi Nelson, Lauren Misiaszek, and Summer Vose each tallying two.