When the 2018 Londonderry High junior varsity softball team completed its season recently, coach Ashley Abad and her 14 players had a great many reasons to lean back and look back at the campaign with great pride.
The freshman and sophomore-heavy squad won some 13 of its 19 games – a number of them quite memorably – and gave its talented athletes more vital game and situational experience as they look ahead to trying to make an LHS varsity contingent which finished among the top four in Division I but then lost five extremely important players to graduation.
The JV Lady Lancers’ elders were juniors Jocelyn Mayo (a pitcher/outfielder) and Jalynn McManus (third baseman), and the big group of 10th graders included outfielder Cailin Borovicka, pitcher/outfielder Jillian Glynn, second baseman Kayla Miles, versatile Maddie Rankin (first and second base), and outfielder Emily Rollins.
The sizable crew of freshmen which got its first tastes of high school ball and responded extremely well included pitcher/outfielder Reyanna Broadhurst, catchers Alexa Calligandes and Kyley Crawford, outfielder Kylee Dodge, pitcher/shortstop Sarah Frazier, shortstop Kylee McGurn, and first-sacker Maya Rutina.
“The girls continually improved over the season, especially in their hitting and fielding,” said coach Abad. “Toward our last few games I could see the girls getting stronger with their swings and stronger on defense. They all had so much fun, and it was great to be a part of the experience with them. I am very proud of how they played this season and hope that they continue to enjoy the game of softball for as long as they continue to play.”
When asked to look back upon her team’s top game performances of the 13-6 campaign, the coach found it rather easy to hone in upon one because it came against Londonderry’s arch-rival and was memorable for both contingents.
“Our top game this season was our away game at Pinkerton on April 14,” said Abad. “We had been down by two runs the entire game and came back to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning. From there, we went into extra innings and ended up beating Pinkerton in eight innings, 7-5. It was such a great game for both teams to be a part of, and it was amazing to see the girls work together as a team to hold on and continue to fight until the very last inning.”
Lots and lots of folks in New Hampshire high school softball circles will have their eyes focused upon the LHS program because longtime varsity coach Wayne MacDougall has stated that there’s an “80-20 chance” that he will not return to that coaching post for the 2019 campaign. And that would leave the varsity Lady Lancers needing to replace their leader as well as Division I Player of the Year and First-Team All-State selection Loey Misiaszek, First-Team All-State pitcher Ila Brown, their fellow 2018 all-stater and third baseman Cassidy Raza, and more-than-solid graduates Sarah Fawcett (first base) and Emily Nelson (catcher).
Hence, there will be no shortage of vital positions for members of the 2018 LHS junior varsity squad to vie for in the question-filled 2019 Lady Lancers’ softball scenario. Who will be making the roster decisions is, at press time, up in the air.