Grand slam breaks tie, earns win for John Stark
GOFFSTOWN - John Stark of Weare catcher Jill Kilar collected the biggest hit of her softball career Saturday, and she's sure her mother was watching.
Kilar broke a 2-2 tie by hitting a grand slam in the top of the seventh inning to help seventh-seeded John Stark upend second-seeded Goffstown 6-2 in the Division II tournament's quarterfinal round. Kilar's home run came on a full count with two outs in the inning.
"Once it got to 3-2, I was thinking I was going to strike out," Kilar said. "I knew I had to make contact. I don't know how I hit that. I was sure it was going to fall short."
Joan Kilar, Jill's mother, died of breast cancer in February, and the John Stark players have a pink ribbon on their uniforms in her memory. Jackie Kilar, Jill's twin sister, is John Stark's starting shortstop.
"She coached my teams until seventh grade," Jill explained. "We're playing our season as a tribute to her."
According to John Stark coach Rick Sweeney, Jill's hit was the first grand slam in the program's history.
"The girls came to me and asked if we could dedicate the season to the mom, Joan Kilar," Sweeney said. "Every once in a while it seems to inspire at the right time."
Center fielder Carly Cook had four hits (all singles), scored two runs and had an RBI for the Generals, who received a complete-game pitching performance from Lyndsey Turner and raised their record to 13-5. Goffstown completed its season 15-5.
"It was a great season," Goffstown coach Matt Fleming said. "Both teams played good softball. They earned it."
Goffstown took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Alyssa Lombardi's solo home run. John Stark got RBI singles from Jocelyn Dimond and Jackie Kilar to take a 2-1 lead in the third. The Grizzles pulled even in the sixth, when Nicole Nanof singled, took third on a throwing error and scored on Lindsey Lord's double.
A single, a walk and a fielder's choice loaded the bases for Jill Kilar in the seventh. The grand slam was the third home run of her career, but the first she's hit over the fence.
"When I talked to the group (after the game) I said, 'Something special is happening here,'" Sweeney said." "It's a great feeling for these girls."
Salem 12, Concord 4: At Salem, sophomore third baseman Ashley Conway collected five hits, drove in four runs and scored twice to help second-seeded Salem win this Division I quarterfinal game. Salem's Rachel Towler struck out 10 and held Concord to three hits in five innings of relief. Seventh-seeded Concord led 3-1 until Salem scored six runs in the bottom of the third.