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Gilford softball defeats Belmont 3-0

The Gilford High School softball team finished its season by winning 15 in a row and recording its eighth shutout, but it wasn't easy, according to coach Joan Forge. "Belmont has improved tremendously since our 9-0 win over them a few weeks ago. We were making contact on offense, but Belmont made some great defensive plays today". Belmont pitcher Megan Prescott had a no-hitter until the top of the 6th when Caitlin Houston singled. Gilford had two chances to score late in the game, but were denied by the tough Belmont defense. The first chance came in the 6th inning when Caitlin Houston led of with a single, advanced to 2nd base on a Alyssa Wilson sacrifice bunt, she got to 3rd on an error, Mollie Dignan was up to bat and laid down a bunt for a suicide squeeze play, but the Belmont defense made the play at the plate to get Houston out. Gilford had another opportunity in the 7th when Lisa Osborne led off with a single, went to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt by Abby Harris, Osborne advanced to 3rd on a Paige Laliberte hit. With Osborne on 3rd, Sarah Lachapelle hit a hard shot to Belmont's 2nd baseman, Megan Bailey, who fired home and got Osborne out at the plate. Belmont came up in the bottom of the 7th and for the 1st time of the game threatened the Gilford defense. Cassie Contigiani led off with a single, Mary Kate Russo laid down a bunt which was misplayed by the Gilford defense, resulting in runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Makayla Donovan hit a short fly ball between short stop, centerfield and leftfield, but Gilford leftfielder Mikaela Mattice made a spectacular catch to save the winning run from scoring. With one out Sydney Strout struck out the next batter, then walked the next batter( only walk of the game) to load the bases, only to strikeout the next batter for the third out. After Belmont applied pressure on the Gilford defense the Gilford offense exploded for three runs on four hits and a sacrifice bunt in the top of the 8th inning. Mikalea Mattice, after making the game saving catch in the outfield, led off with a single to rightfield and advanced to 2nd on a Hannah Chase sacrifice bunt, Mollie Dignan singled to rightfield and drove in Mattice for Gilford's first run. Sydney Strout then delivered a double deep to center field to drive in Dignan. Sydney Strout's courtesy runner, Kristina Hayden, scored on a Lisa Osborne single to centerfield to make the score 3-0. Strout struck out 2 of the final 3 batters and Mikaela Mattice caught a fly ball to leftfield for the last out and the victory.
Sydney Strout had 14 strikeouts, gave up 4 hits and 1 walk.
The Gilford offense was led by Lisa Osborne 2/4 (1 RBI), Sydney Strout 1 double (1 RBI), singles by Mollie Dignan (1 RBI & 1 run scored), Paige Laliberte, Caitlin Houston and Miakela Mattice (1 run scored)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 01:17

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Gilford boys advance to tennis finals

The Gilford High School boys' tennis team defeated Prospect Mountain Friday in the Division III semi-finals, 5-2.  The match was played inside Gilford Hills and the numbers 2 and 3 doubles did not finish due to time.  In singles, Andrew Caulfield won, 8-1, Matt Saulnier won, 8-1, Alex Smoneau won, 8-4, Keaton Quigley won 8-6 (after falling behind, 1-5), Erich Berghahn lost, 6-8, and Nolan Dwyer lost in a tiebreaker, 8-9 (7-5).  Caulfield/Saulnier won the #1 doubles, 5-2.
The 15-0 Eagles face Bow on Tuesday at 4 p.m., at the Derryfield School, for the Division III championship.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 01:14

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Bow ends GHS girls' tennis season

The Gilford High School girls' tennis team played its last match of the season on Friday, losing to Bow, 8-1, in the semi-final round of the Division III tournament. The team's overall record for the season was 12 wins, 4 losses.
Charleyne Panner, playing in the second singles spot, was the only Gilford player to earn a point for her team, beating Bow's Nisha Naik 8-3.
Gilford had advanced to the semi-final round after narrowly defeating Profile. Coach Hermann Defregger said, "We knew that playing Profile and Bow will be very challenging for us, but I'm very proud of our team. They gave it their best and that's all I can ask of them each time they step on the court. Tobe in the top four again out of 18 teams in Division III is a great accomplishment for this team. I certainly will miss Cheralynn Corsack and Charleyne Panner, who have been my number one and two for all four years and have had an outstanding high school career."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 01:09

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Muskrats GM sees elements coming together for 2013 season

LACONIA — Noah Crane, general manager of the Laconia Muskrats, recalls a distinct sensation of inexperience he felt four years ago, when he and his family brought the amateur, wooden-bat New England Collegiate Baseball League team to Laconia. With every step, he's learned a bit more, and this year he thinks the team could set a new high point, both in terms of on-the-field performance and in-the-stands attendance.
"I certainly went into this thinking, 'I don't know what I'm doing'," said Crane. His baseball acumen was sharp, which helpedto  build a team that finished fourth in the league and earned a post-season appearance in the first season for the Muskrats. The teams have continued to be competitive or better – the 2011 team won the Eastern Conference title and played in the team's first championship game. Last year's team didn't enjoy such a long post-season run, though still finished third in the standings.
More challenging, said Crane, have been the other parts of managing a team, namely, filling the stands with fans and building relationships with local sponsors. "It's encouraging that we're growing. We're getting better in terms of attendance and sponsorships," Crane said, though he added, "We're still not where we need to be."
For both spectators and sponsors, there's a core of solid support that Crane greatly appreciates. There's not quite enough of them, yet, he said.
The 2011 season, with its extended playoff run, saw the team's highest season total of more than 10,000 fans admitted. Attendance flagged a bit last year, though, with a total of 8,500. This year, the Muskrats organization is pursuing a goal of "13 for 13," 13,000 fans admitted for the 2013 season.
Crane thinks the team can do it, for a few reasons. The league added a couple of games to the regular season this year. The Muskrats and Robbie Mills Field will be hosting this year's NECLB All-Star game, which will surely draw hundreds from around New England. Lastly, he thinks the team should be fun to watch.
Returning talent includes Conway native Nick Kevlin, a right-handed pitcher who talked his way into a try-out last year and earned a spot in the Muskrats bullpen. Now a sophomore at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas, Crane expects Kevlin to be an improved and versatile pitcher that could be used in many situations, including as a starter. Also returning are Joe Torres, a speedy outfielder from Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., and left-handed pitcher Nevin Wilson, a sophomore at Vanderbilt University.
Crane is also excited to bring Wilson's battery mate at Vanderbilt, freshman Walker Buehler. With a fastball in the 90s that he throws in between changeups and breaking balls, Buehler was recently ranked the top baseball draft prospect of his class. Crane said that Buehler was drafted out of high school, but that he declined professional offers so that he could play for Vanderbilt, a team which was recently named the number 2 seed in the NCAA baseball tournament. Some of the players from the earlier Muskrat teams have already begun professional careers, and Crane said Buehler is expected to follow them in a short amount of time. "He's special – we're excited about him," said Crane, noting that the only downside is that Buehler's Laconia appearance might be delayed if Vanderbilt goes deep into the NCAA tourney.
While Crane is excited about several of the players on his roster, he's learned a lesson from previous years and packed his team deep with talent. He's been burned in the past by players that either become injured or simply don't show up for the season; if that happens this year, there will be plenty of other players to fill that void.
The coaching staff remains a point of stability for Crane. Manager Matt Alison is in his third year in his current position and his fourth with the team. Pitching coach Luke Demko, a Gilford native and a star pitcher for the Golden Eagles during his high school years, also returns.
Crane is continuing to struggle with finding enough host families for all of his players. Host families, what he called a critical part of the organization, provide a player with a bedroom and access to laundry services. With less than a week before players are scheduled to arrive, he's still six host families shy of housing his entire team. For more information on hosting a Muskrat, email Crane at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  "Hopefully, the community will respond and answer the call."
As with last year, all regular season games will begin at 6:30 p.m. New this year is the price structure: those 16 and older will be admitted for $5, while those 15 and younger will be admitted for free.
The first game for the Muskrats this year will be at home on June 6, when Laconia hosts the Plymouth Pilgrims at Robbie Mills Field. For a full schedule, visit laconiamuskrats.com.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 01:04

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