EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

June 17, 2009

Knights' Whitley reminiscent of Salem great Mollica

(Continued)

Chip off the old block

OK, they play different positions, but Sanborn junior Morgan Farmer is doing older sister and current UMass Lowell pitcher Lindsay Farmer proud. The Indians shortstop hit over .500, led the team in average and RBIs and was the best player for the state semifinalists.

Lindsay, you'll remember, was a two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star who posted a minuscule 0.19 ERA her senior year.

Performance of the Year

You've got to go with Pinkerton senior Cara Chooljian, who was nearly perfect for seven innings, and had 15 strikeouts and a shutout for 15 innings under tournament pressure before dropping a 1-0 heartbreaker to Londonderry.

FAB 5

The Eagle-Tribune's final 2009 ranking of area softball teams:

Team%Record

1. Londonderry%18-4

2. Salem%16-5

3. Central Catholic%16-5

4. Brooks%14-3

5. Pinkerton%15-6

Honorable mention: Methuen (15-6), Sanborn (18-2), Phillips Academy (15-4), North Reading (16-5)

Sorry Bay State, New Hampshire is superior

Which state is tougher in high school sports: New Hampshire or Massachusetts?

That chronic border debate is rather one-sided in softball. The Granite State is, plain and simple, superior.

There are definitely some outstanding teams in Mass., but they're far from numerous. And, in the Merrimack Valley area, the talent can't quite keep up with those over the border.

Look at the final Fab 5 and you'll see Londonderry first and Salem second, with Pinkerton and Sanborn not far behind.

It's not that teams like Central Catholic and Methuen didn't have plenty of talent, but they each had a couple of defensive holes and their hitting was inconsistent once you got past the sixth spot in the order.

By contrast, Londonderry had seven batters over .300 for much of the season and it scared the heck out of Class L champ Concord while both Pinkerton and Salem were nearly as dangerous throughout their batting orders. Not to mention they were all hitting against pitchers from just 40 feet away, three feet less than in Mass.

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