By Chris Paul
The Londonderry High School Softball squad hit the ground running when they opened up the 2022 spring season with two strong wins home and away.
After going 4-1 in the pre-season against a number of tough Massachusetts teams, the Lady Lancer had a 5-0 shutout win over the Winnacunnet Warriors in their season opener at home, then beat Manchester Central-Memorial 6-2 in the Queen City.
Head coach Dave Johnson is in his second season leading the LHS squad and finished the 2021 season with a 12-6 record. The Lady Lancers made it as far as the DI quarterfinals in first year.
Sophomore starting pitcher Olivia Cutuli had a more than impressive start on the mound during the home opener against the Warriors. She allowed just two hits and got 13 strikeouts in the win and also batted in two runs with a homerun to help with the win.
The Lady Lancers started strong in the Monday afternoon, April 11, with Cutuli getting three quick strikeouts in the first inning.
In the bottom of that inning, senior Emily Rivera scored the first run of the season on a pass ball with two outs.
In the third, Rivera got to first on a two-out single and Cutuli put the team in front 3-0 with a homer to centerfield.
The fourth inning had the girls score the final two runs of the game, thanks to three singles and a error by the WHS catcher.
Overall, the Lady Lancers had eight hits in the game, Rivera was three for three in the game, with a double and two runs scored. Cutuli had the game’s only dinger and drove in two to help her cause.
Makenna True, Samantha Minton, Liana Sawyer and Lauren Laudani each had singles in the victory.
Two days later, the team traveled to Manchester where they battled into extra innings at 2-2 until the fourteenth inning where they came away with a 6-2 win over Central-Memorial.
Sophomore Sarah Woodruff took the mound for LHS after two innings and lasted 12 innings, giving up seven hits and a homerun for the win.
The game had a promising start, with Rivera continuing her hitting streak with a single and a steal, followed by a walk by Cutuli, but the first ended scoreless.
Junior Mya Gaspie pitched the first two innings and gave up two hits and a run in the second.
In the third, Londonderry tied the game at one with a True single and a Rivera run.
Londonderry took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Madisyn Bickford scored from third on a ground ball to shortstop.
Manchester tied the game in the seventh with a runner on third and a bunt to second base.
The game remained scoreless for seven more innings until the Lady Lancers rallied in the bottom of the 14th for four runs. The inning started with four singles. True, Woodruff, Noelle Dobe and Bickford had singles to go ahead 4-2.
Two more insurance runs were added in the extra inning before Woodruff finished with three quick outs to finally end the game.
Londonderry had 18 hits, while Manchester had just nine in the game.
Woodfuff got the win after throwing 205 pitches with 11 strikeouts, seven hits, one walk and just one earned run.
The LHS squad was scheduled to take on Exeter and Timberlane on the road to start this with a game against West-Trinity at home Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.