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June 23, 2013

Memory Lane: Torrential rain couldn’t stop Owls, Salem

The area was battered with close to nine inches of rain over a five-day period 15 years ago, causing the Spicket River in the Salem/Methuen area to overflow and postponing New Hampshire’s state championship baseball and softball games five times.

When the games were finally played, Salem and Timberlane won state titles.

Left fielder Michelle Raymond sprinted and made a diving grab in deep left-center field in the seventh inning to preserve the Blue Devils’ 5-4 win over Merrimack.

“I think I got a good jump on it,” said Raymond after the game. “I said in my mind, ‘Don’t you dare drop it.’ I didn’t think I’d catch it, but when I did I felt relief. There was no more stress left.”

The Class L crown was the fifth for Salem in the ‘90s but the first for fourth-year head coach Jack Brouse.

“These are the kids I came in with,” he said. “I’ve been with them from the soup to the nuts and all the courses in between.”

Raymond drove in Salem’s first run and Monica Ball delivered an RBI triple in the four-run second inning.

For the Owls in the Class I title tilt, it almost seemed that prosperity was a bad thing in the 3-0 win over Berlin.

An RBI double from Tricia Robinson and a run-scoring single from Scarlette Mellow in the first inning got Timberlane off to a great start. Mellow, who helped Amesbury to a Mass. state title the year before, added an RBI single in the third.

Despite giving up five walks over the first six innings, Melissa Bezanson (11 strikeouts) kept Berlin from scoring. Three straight free passes to open the seventh put the tying run on base but Bezanson buckled down. A pop-out to shortstop Brianne Cobb turned into a double play as she nailed the runner trying to score from third base. Bezanson snagged another pop-out to wrap up the win.

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