Monadnock softball falls behind early, can't climb out of hole against Campbell in regular season finale

·4 min read

May 28—SWANZEY — There were a few moments in the final couple of innings where it looked like the Monadnock softball team had a chance to climb back into the game, but none came to fruition in a 7-3 loss to Campbell Friday in Swanzey in the regular season finale.

Monadnock left six runners stranded in the final three innings, including four in scoring position.

The Huskies fell behind 7-0 after the first two innings, and Grace LeClair gave the team some life with a three-run home run in the third inning, but from there it was all zeros on the scoreboard for both teams.

LeClair's home run came with two outs in the third inning, after Delaney Tenney and Cainen Avery both reached base on walks. Julia Hoden advanced them with a sacrifice bunt, then LeClair hit them home on the long ball to center field.

Her hit was one of just four on the day for the Huskies, as Campbell's Theresa Ivas was dealing in the circle. She allowed just the three runs (all on LeClair's home run) and struck out 13 Huskies in the complete game outing.

Meanwhile, Campbell's offense racked up 13 hits, nine of which came in those first two innings. LeClair pitched for the Monadnock and let up the seven runs in the first two innings (all earned), but then adjusted and shut down the Cougars the rest of the way, allowing only three hits in the final five innings.

"They had those two innings where they scored the seven runs, but we shut it down for the rest of the game," LeClair said. "[Our coach] just said that if we play like we did after those two innings, we'll be just fine."

"I wish we could've made the adjustments sooner, but overall, they made the adjustments," said Monadnock coach Chad Beede. "And that's what it's going to take to make it all the way to the championship is to make those in-game adjustments and figure it out early."

Down 7-3 in the sixth inning, Monadnock had a prime opportunity to continue chipping away at the deficit when Shawn Bixby hit a lead-off double. But Ivas found her groove for the rest of the inning and didn't allow Bixby to advance any farther, striking out three of the four following batters (there was a walk mixed in).

Monadnock also had runners on second and third with two outs in the seventh inning, but a pop-out to Campbell's first basemen in foul territory ended the game before any runs could score.

After rattling off nine wins in a row to start the month of May, Monadnock has dropped its last two games of the regular season, to Hopkinton and Campbell, respectively. Both are teams that the Huskies could see again in the playoffs.

"It's kind of a wakeup call just to let us know that there's some serious competition out there," LeClair said. "Having winning streaks ... can kind of put a lot of pressure on a team. When you lose a game, you can see what you did wrong, see what you can do better. When we see them in playoffs again — hopefully in the semis or finals or something like that — we'll know better than we would've if we won."

The Huskies finish the regular season at 13-4 and await the official seedings for the Division III tournament. Monadnock is expected to host a playoff game Wednesday as either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the division.

"It's a whole new season starting on Wednesday," Beede said. "I think they're much more confident than they were at the beginning of the year. They've gelled well, they've come together well, they work together well."

"They're ready, they want to play," LeClair said. "I reminded them that we have five seniors on the team. The longer we play in the playoffs, the longer we can stick around, the longer we can play together. We're a tight group of girls. We really just want to stay together as long as we can."