PLAISTOW — Among other Division 1 coaches, Timberlane’s Jim Clavette has insisted for weeks that there is little difference between the top five teams and the rest of the pack.
Yesterday in a Division 1 opener, the No. 4-seed and defending Division 1 state champion Owls found that to be true as they were stunned by No. 13-seed Bedford, 8-4.
The outcome was obviously disappointing to Clavette, but not totally unexpected. Nor was it a total surprise to Bedford coach Derek Geddes, whose Bulldogs improved to just 7-12.
“We knew all year if we put it together, we could be competitive with anyone,” said Geddes. “We were not consistent with defense or hitting, but today we had it all.”
Facing Timberlane standout Kate Hoadley, Bedford had the hitting early, scoring twice in the first inning on a pair of doubles after winning pitcher Kelly Woodmansee opened with a walk, and added five runs on six hits in the third.
After scoring another run in the fourth, Bedford had collected 10 of its 11 hits and had taken an 8-2 lead.
“Kate’s rise ball and location just wasn’t there early, and we didn’t help her defensively,” said Clavette. “She did settle down later.”
In fact, Hoadley retired 11 of the last 12 batters she faced but, by that time, the damage had been done.
Trailing early, the Owls tied the game with a run in the first when Christina Nye singled and scored on an error, and notched another in the second when Jennifer Trodella scored on a throwing error.
Woodmansee was far from overwhelming, but she had two things working in her favor. She received excellent defense, particularly from shortstop Alex Haskell, and several of the Owls’ hardest hit balls were right at fielders.
Nye, as she had most of the season, led the Owls with two of their eight hits, scoring a run in the fifth on a two-run double by freshman Mikayla Livingston. Amy Freeman and Ally Collins hit the ball hard every time up but each had just one hit.