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NHIAA Softball: Salem rolls past Bedford for sixth straight victory

Special to the Union Leader

May 19. 2017 12:18AM

BEDFORD — Bedford High School softball coach Jay Brewster continues to put on his best face when talking about his team’s struggles in the second half of the season.

Brewster has no choice but to remain upbeat because he knows his Bulldogs, who began the season 8-0 and are now 10-5 following Thursday’s 9-3 loss to Salem, are capable of turning their fortunes around once playoff time rolls around.

The same can be said for Salem coach Harold Sachs. His red-hot Blue Devils are loaded with talent and appear well-poised for another Division 1 state title run.

Salem (13-2) pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of five Bulldogs errors to claim its sixth consecutive victory. Much of the damage for the Blue Devils came in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings when they plated eight runs.

“I know the girls are comfortable feeding off one another offensively,” said Sachs. “Our defense also played extremely well. We didn’t make an error. Right now we are slowly putting every aspect of our game together.”

Leading the offensive assault for Salem was Brooke Murphy, who finished with three hits, including a triple. Victoria Andrade, Kendra Wilson, Hailey Shaw and Brianna Marino (two doubles) each contributed a pair of hits.

“Once we get that one hit then everyone else seems to get going,” Andrade said “We talk a lot and momentum always keeps us going. When one of us starts hitting then we all start hitting. We view every game as a dogfight and we just need to keep working every day.”

Already ahead 3-0 after four innings on RBIs from Wilson, Shaw and Murphy, the Blue Devils put this one away courtesy of a four-run fifth. A single by Wilson and a double from Marino was followed by a Meghan Collins sacrifice fly. That was followed by three consecutive Bedford errors which helped push the lead to 7-0.

The Bulldogs, who finished with 11 hits, finally broke their scoring drought when sophomore Jacquelyn Harrington smashed a Camryn Hanninen fastball over the left-field fence, cutting the deficit to four runs. Bedford got three hits apiece from Erin Murphy and Audrey Pederson.

But the persistent Blue Devils stormed right back against pitcher Katie Martin in the top of the sixth. With one out, Andrade drove a pitch deep over the left-field fence for a solo home run. Marino followed with a single and came around to score on Collins’ double to center.

“That team is a real good hitting team,” Brewster said. “Outside of the home run, they didn’t hit the ball with power but did hit the ball hard. But we also didn’t make the plays in the field. Before the game we said we needed to play mistake-free ball and we didn’t. Take the unearned runs out of the equation and its a lot closer than 9-3. When we made mistakes today they came in bunches.”

Despite giving up the 13 hits, Martin, a senior, managed to strike out nine. Hanninen, also a senior, fanned four before being relieved by Marino with two gone in the sixth.

Bedford left nine runners on base, including leaving the bases loaded in the fourth and sixth innings, respectively. In the sixth, Harrington hit a sinking liner to center that Madison Rastello made a terrific diving catch on which saved at least three runs. The Blue Devils also stranded nine.

“It was a great catch by her,” said Sachs. “Because that was a time when they were starting to make a solid run at us.”

NHIAA Bedford Salem