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Campbell winning pitcher Emily Paquin delivers against White Mountains in the NHIAA Division III softball tournament championship game Saturday at Plymouth State University. Paquin allowed four hits and struck out eight in the 1-0 win. (HARRY KOZLOWSKI)

Paquin, Campbell win NHIAA Div. II softball title


PLYMOUTH - A masterful pitching performance by Campbell's Emily Paquin helped the Cougars earn their second Division II softball title in a row with a 1-0 victory over White Mountains Regional High School Saturday.

It was the third softball crown for Campbell in the last four years.

Paquin allowed just four hits and a walk and struck out eight, including the final three batters of the game.

"She was something else," said White Mountains coach Forrest Hicks. "She kept us off balance the entire game. She was phenomenal."

Her performance overshadowed an equally impressive outing by the Spartans' Erika Millett. She allowed eight hits and no walks and struck out six.

"It was really sweet especially since a lot of folks didn't think we'd be here," said Paquin about the third-seeded Cougars. "We came in as the underdogs."

Campbell coach Joe Raycraft was holding the game ball after the game. "It's my retirement present," said Raycraft, who coached his last game for the Cougars.

"It was a well-played game by both teams. We were fortunate that we got a break and scored," said Raycraft. "I had a feeling it would come down to pitching, and it did.'

'The game was scoreless until the top of the fifth inning when Gianna Cataldo hit a leadoff ball that was mishandled by a White Mountains fielder, putting her on third. Two hitters later, number nine batter Emma Kuczkowski brought her home with a ground out to second to give the Cougars the only run they would need. Two Spartan batters reached base in the bottom of the fifth but could not score.Then in the bottom of the seventh, Millett led off with a base hit. But Paquin struck out the last three batters to seal the win.

"She's just a pressure pitcher," said Raycraft. "She just thrives on competition."

Along with Raycraft, it was also the last softball game for senior Paquin, who plans to concentrate on school when she attends Southern New Hampshire University next year.

"I'm happy to go out this way since this will be my last game," said Paquin. "I just want to focus on school for now."

        

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