By Chris Paul
The Londonderry High School Varsity Softball squad is moving onto the semifinals by virtue of two one-run wins in the first two rounds of the Division I State Championships.
The Lady Lancers beat Spaulding High School 7-6 in the first round and Winnacunnet 4-3 in the quarterfinals and will face Concord at Plymouth State University for a chance to play for their first championship.
In the first round game over the Spaulding Red Raiders, LHS needed to overcome a 6-1 deficit by the third inning to claim victory and move on.
Londonderry entered the tourney as the number three seed and hosted the number 14 seed on Wednesday, June 1.
Three Lancer pitchers were called to the circle in the game, with sophomore Olivia Cutuli getting the win.
Sarah Woodruff was the game’s starter, but was knocked out after two and two thirds innings, giving up six runs on seven hits and five walks.
Mya Gaspie pitched a third of an inning in relief and Cutuli finished the final four with nine strikeouts, one walk and two hits.
Senior Liana Sawyer was 3-4 at the plate, Cutuli had two hits on four at bats with a home run and junior Nina Corvino had two hits, two runs and two RBIs in the win.
Londonderry’s biggest inning came in the third, down 6-1, Sawyer and Cutuli singled to start and Olivia Chau walked to load the bases. Corvino knocked two in with a single and two more runs came in on an error by the catcher.
Sarah Minton tied the game at six in the fifth with a single to drive in Corvino and Cutuli hit the game-winning home run in the sixth.
In the win over Winnacunnet on Saturday, June 4, Londonderry took a 2-0 lead early, but wound up needing an extra inning to beat the number six seed.
Cutuli got her second playoff win with a complete game performance, striking out nine batters, walking two and giving up just six hits. The three runs scored by the Warriors were all unearned.
Cutuli hit her second home run of the playoffs in the first inning two take the 2-0 lead early and in the sixth, Lauren Landini made it 3-0 with a sac fly to right, scoring Chau who had hit a lead-off single.
Winnacunnet tied the game in the seventh, in part thanks to two infield errors, two singles and a double.
Landini also hit a game-winning single in the bottom of the eighth, driving in Corvino who had a leadoff single.
The Lady Lancers combined for 13 hits in the game.
They will play Concord on Wednesday, the Crimson Tide is the second seed in the tourney and beat LHS 14-7 in the regular season.