EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 23, 2013

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

Memory Lane
Chuck Frye

---- — 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.

15 years ago: Johnson carries Pelham

It took an extra day for Pelham and Gilford to battle for the Class M baseball crown and Doug Johnson couldn’t have been more ready.

The junior righthander was brilliant, registering his first career no-hitter. In the seventh inning, facing the heart of Gilford’s lineup, Johnson dispatched them 1-2-3 on just 10 pitches to clinch the 5-0 win.

“I really had to concentrate at the end because I was tired,” said Johnson, who finished with a 9-1 record.

Pelham pounced on poor Gilford defense as Damon Whalen and Justin Slattery scored twice each without the benefit of a hit while Dave Angelone came home on back-to-back errors.

Pelham coach Joe Connors said, “We kept showing up to the park and found out it was postponed day after day. It wasn’t easy.”

25 years ago: Hillies outduel Rangers

Haverhill and Methuen, who split two regular-season games, met in the 1988 Division 1 North title game.

Kerry Horgan spun a two-hitter as the Hillies turned back Wilmington, 5-0, in one semifinal. Melissa Lewandowski (3 RBIs, 1 run) and Kate Abromovitch (3 for 3) powered the offense.

Methuen’s Tricia Murray struck out eight Reading batters and Donny Berryman sparked a six-run sixth-inning explosion in a 7-2 semifinal win.

In the North final, behind Lynellen McDonnell, who had two singles to extend a personal streak against Horgan to five straight hits, Methuen grabbed a 4-2 lead.

But the Hillies seized momentum in the bottom of the fifth when Abromovitch launched a titanic homer. Carrie Davidson scored on a wild pitch to tie it and a throwing error brought home Laurie Greeley with the go-ahead run.

The Hillies continued their run in the state semifinals with a 6-3 win over Dartmouth, the 23rd straight victory for the locals, led by Davidson’s two-run single.

Unfortunately, the streak ended in the state finals as Leominster prevailed, 4-2.

5 years ago: Andover’s record-breakers

At the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., Andover’s medley relay team of Colleen Shannon, Melissa Knapp, Kayley Pettoruto and Vanessa Singleton earned All-American status with a sixth-place finish. The same quartet broke the area record in the 4x400, running a 3:54.05. Knapp came back to break a school record in the 200 (25.61) as did Haverhill’s Samantha Stabile (25.33). For the boys, Andover’s Christopher McConnell blazed the 100 in a school-record 10.78 in the prelims. …

Salem’s Katie Bettencourt was voted the N.H. Class L softball MVP. … Central Catholic’s Mike Leavitt was named quad-captain of the North squad for the 30th annual Shriners Football Classic at Bentley College, then turned in a six-tackle effort with an interception at safety in a 19-13 win. … Three-sport star Ruben Sosa won Lawrence High’s most prestigious athletic award, the Cregg Medal. …

Mike Yastrzemski rapped out four hits, scored twice and drove in a pair of runs in Andover Post 8’s 10-1 American Legion victory over Lawrence. In its next game, John Farrell tossed six quality innings to get Andover past Methuen Post 122, 9-2. … Taylor Robinson doubled in the winning run as Haverhill Post 4 won its second straight game on its final at-bat, downing Gloucester, 5-4. …

15 years ago: Uliano lifts North

… Central Catholic’s Joe Uliano scored on a 34-yard touchdown run and added a 2-point conversion grab on another TD as the North squad defeated the South, 28-15, in the Shriners football game at BU. ...

Jeff Mackor of Salem and St. John’s Prep, Haverhill’s Pedro Pena and Whittier’s Scott LaValley — the area’s leading hitter with a .574 batting average — were selected to play in the Eastern Mass. High School All-Star Game. … Haverhill’s 4x400 meter relay team of Chris Wallace, Kevin Swanson, Peter Crapsey and Mike Howell were just nosed out at the finish by Trumbull, Conn., in the New England championships in Providence. The Hillies’ 3:22.9 clocking was the third-best all-time in the area. … Pinkerton defenseman Tony Senia was named Division 1 lacrosse defensive MVP. …

In its first-ever appearance in the fabled Boston Shootout summer basketball tourney, New Hampshire beat New York, 104-97. Salem’s Chris Urquhart (6 points, 3 assists in 17 minutes) nailed a fourth-quarter 3-pointer that gave the squad its biggest lead of the game. After dropping in 14 points in the third-place game against Washington, Urquhart drove up Route 93 and scored 20 for Salem in a 72-64 win over Haverhill in Hoops for Hope action. …

Al Mottram had three hits including a home run to help Lawrence beat Haverhill, 9-2 in American Legion play one night, then delivered two homers and four hits in Methuen’s 9-5 Senior Babe Ruth victory over Haverhill the next night.

25 years ago: Ferrick on fire

Presentation of Mary fell to perennial power Amesbury, 12-0, in the Division 3 North semifinals. Colleen Cook got PMA’s only hit with one out in the seventh inning. … Pentucket’s Cindy Ferrick threw a no-hitter in the quarterfinals then fired a one-hitter against St. Mary’s of Lynn in the Division 3 North semis. Sharon Emmett homered in the St. Mary’s win. … Amesbury then preserved its perfect season by scoring with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Pentucket, 3-2, for the North title.