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Shock, Rally Cats take softball crowns

The softball season didn’t end for sisters Ashley and Alicia Vining after Portsmouth Christian Academy’s semifinal appearance in the NHIAA Division IV tournament.

Rising junior Ashley Vining and the Seacoast Shock won the New Hampshire Babe Ruth 16U state championship in Plaistow. Alicia Vining, who will attend American University in the fall, helped the Durham Rally Cats win the 18U Amateur Softball Association state title.

The Rally Cats (19-7) feature players from Exeter High School, Winnacunnet of Hampton, Oyster River of Durham, Portsmouth Christian, Farmington and Portsmouth. Seacoast (19-6) has players from Portsmouth Christian, Somersworth, Dover, St. Thomas Aquinas of Dover, Epping, Coe-Brown Northwood Academy and Marshwood High of Berwick, Maine.

The Shock defeated Charlestown, 14-4, in the 16U Babe Ruth championship game to finish the tournament with a 4-0 record. Ashley Vining pitched two shutouts in the tournament. Teammate Callie Heselton was the winning pitcher in the title game.

“We pitched well, we hit well and played great defense,” said Mike Vining, who is the Shock coach and Alicia and Ashley’s father. “When we do that, we’re fine.”

Alicia Vining, who owns a 2.60 ERA this summer, pitched the Rally Cats to a 9-8 victory over the New England Diamond Gems in the second round of the ASA 18U state tournament. Teammate Caitlyn Miller threw a no-hitter en route to Durham’s championship win. Miller, who plays for Oyster River, was the NHIAA Division II Pitcher of the Year last season.

Both the Shock and Rally Cats are preparing to compete in the National Softball Association FastPitch 16U and 18U World Series tournaments, respectively. The two tournaments will take place in Spartanburg, S.C.

“We don’t feel any pressure to win down there,” Mike Vining said. “We view it as more of a way to celebrate two great seasons.”

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