“I think the field is pretty balanced,” said Methuen coach Jason Smith. “We are excited to have Amesbury back in our tournament. I have so much respect for coach Perry and what his program has accomplished over the years. They are a veteran squad that is having another great year.
“Andover always battles hard, especially in our tournament. ... Whittier puts up a lot of runs. Their offensive numbers are impressive. We know that we are in for a challenge on Friday.
“We always set several goals each year. One goal is always to win our own tournament. But, it is just as important is to perform at a high level at the end of the regular season. We hope to be running on all cylinders, play well, and use the momentum from those games and carry it over into the state tournament.”
Andover opens with Amesbury at 5 p.m. Friday with Methuen and Whittier at 7 p.m. The consolation and championship games are at 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday.
At virtually the same time as the Methuen Tournament is the North Andover Tournament.
Lowell faces Chelmsford at 4:30 p.m. Friday with the host Knights taking on Newburyport at 6:30. The consolation and championship games are set for Saturday at 4:30 and 6:30.
Like the Methuen Tournament, there is no huge favorite here. Chelmsford might rate a slight edge, but every one of the teams is capable of putting together two good games.
North Andover has struggled a bit without senior Courtney Green. She came back to catch last week but still isn’t able to hit.
Methuen tourney winners
2012 — Andover
2011 — Whittier
2010 — Methuen
2009 — Methuen
2008 — Andover
2007 — North Andover
2006 — North Andover
2005 — Methuen
2004 — Methuen
2003 — Methuen
2002 — Methuen
2001 — Andover
2000 — Andover
FAB 5 The Eagle-Tribune's weekly ranking of area softball teams: 1. Central Catholic 15-2 2. Timberlane 14-3 3. Phillips Academy 11-0 4. Salem 12-4 5. Methuen 12-6 Honorable mention: Whittier (13-4)