NASHUA — Erica Frothingham was not afraid to take on a new challenge Thursday afternoon.
The Nashua High School South junior has made a name for herself as a standout shortstop, but in the third inning, she stepped into the circle and the results were impressive.
Frothingham earned the win, whiffing six and only giving up two runs and six hits in the final five frames, while going 2-for-4 in the leadoff position with two singles, three runs and an RBI during a 10-4 triumph over visiting Manchester Memorial in Division I softball.
“I came in and tried to help out my team,” Frothingham said. “Pitching in a relief role is not one of my favorite things to do, but I am definitely willing to do it if it means helping out my team. I am happy with my performance and glad that my team had my back.”
Catcher Chloe Kelble-Goforth (3-for-4, triple, double, single, three RBIs, run) also excelled for the Panthers (1-1), who finished with 12 hits and made four errors. The Crusaders (0-1) recorded seven hits and committed three errors, as the visitors were led by junior outfielder Taylor Wilson (3-for-3, three singles, walk, RBI).
The Panthers, who tallied at least one run in five of six innings, took command of the game in the fifth with a three-run, four-hit effort, as the unit built a 9-4 edge on a one-out, RBI single to right-center by Natalie Ward, scoring third baseman Alexis Roberge. The lead ballooned up to 10-4 in the sixth on an RBI ground out by Kyleigh Guerette, allowing Kelble-Goforth to trot home with the final run.
“I think the sky is the limit, and if we can play each inning as its own little game each day then we will be fine,” Panthers coach Kevin Handy said. “Whether it is a practice, game or scrimmage; we have to win each day. This softball team is definitely trying to make some noise in Nashua for sure.”
South took a brief 1-0 lead in the first on a one-out, RBI single through the left side by Elizabeth Thibeault, scoring Frothingham, but then the Crusaders responded as junior McKenna Gladysz and senior Morgan Leonard crossed the plate with unearned runs in the second, giving the visitors the lead for the only time at 2-1.
The Panthers fired right back with five unanswered runs, ending with a two-out, two-run double to right by Kelble-Goforth in the fourth. Memorial got back in the game in the fifth with a two-run output, highlighted by an RBI ground out by senior Emily Philibert and a one-run single through the left side by Wilson, cutting the deficit to 6-4.
“Nashua South is a very strong team and they were aggressive from the beginning,” Crusaders coach Rachel Hedge Dahmke said. “They really challenged us and we had a lot of people moving around throughout the game. I think we did well and we know what we have to work on. Given the situation, I am pretty happy with how we started. We had some really aggressive base-running.”
The Panthers added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth as Frothingham was able to get in a rhythm and pitch with confidence. For the most part, she hit her spots well, retiring the side in order during the fourth.
“Erica Frothingham is a stud shortstop and she pitched at a younger age,” Handy said. “When she comes in it is difficult to get on top of her pitches because she throws so many different pitches. She is a veteran in any spot that we have.”
Both teams will be back in action on Friday as the Panthers will make the trip to Winnacunnet for a 3:30 p.m. start and the Crusaders will be back in Nashua to take on North at 4 p.m.