Sports

Hodgdon outlasts Southern Aroostook in D North softball quarterfinal

HODGDON, Maine — The Hodgdon softball squad is moving on to the Class D North semifinals following an impressive 14-9 victory over Southern Aroostook Thursday afternoon.

Hodgdon took advantage of multiple walks and also broke out the small ball game, successfully laying down several bunts against the Warriors.

With the win, No. 3 Hodgdon (14-2 overall) advances to the semifinals, where the Hawks will face the winner of Friday’s No. 2 Woodland (12-3) versus No. 7 Katahdin (11-4) quarterfinal. If Woodland is victorious, the Hawks will play in Baileyville, but if Katahdin wins, Hodgdon would host the semifinal.

There was plenty of excitement and a few surprises in Thursday’s quarterfinal. After Southern Aroostook coach Paul Sherman said that the Warriors star player — Maddie Russell — was unlikely to play following the team’s preliminary playoff due to an injury, Russell was in the lineup, batting leadoff and playing shortstop for her team.

The talented junior, who is battling a groin injury, also managed to enter the pitching circle for SA in the bottom of the fourth inning, as the Warriors clung to a 5-4 lead.

“Maddie did a great job trying to come back (from injury),” Southern Aroostook coach Paul Sherman said. “Today was the first time she even tried to throw for about two or three weeks. But she wanted to go out there and give it a try.”

Pitchers for both squads struggled with control at times as rain came down at increasing intensity for periods of Thursday’s game.

Hodgdon junior Sadie Thompson scattered nine runs on 14 hits, three walks and one hit batter, with four strikeouts. 

Southern Aroostook junior Jayniece Wenzloff gave up four runs on six hits and four walks, with four strikeouts in three innings of work. Russell tossed the final three innings, allowing 10 runs on five hits and six walks, with five strikeouts.

Marissa Dow led the Hawks at the plate with a triple and double, while Gracie Little, Delaney Little, Meghan Peters and Thompson each had two singles. Sydney Harvey chipped in with a triple, while Kaelyn Lawlor added a double.

For Southern Aroostook, Olivia Engebretson led the way with a double and single, while Bethany Schmidt added two singles; and Jennah Brooks, Cami Shields, Maddie Shields, Callie Russell, Addyson Schmidt, Russell and Wenzloff all had one single each.

The two squads battled back and forth through the first three innings, resulting in a 4-4 tie at the end of the third inning.

Hodgdon broke open the game bottom of the fifth inning, thanks to a creative coaching decision. The Hawks decided to utilize its “small ball” game by dropping multiple bunts on the Warriors. Hodgdon successfully dropped three bunts in the fifth inning, resulting in several runs for the team.

“We play small ball well,” Hodgdon coach Mark Faulkingham said. “From the beginning of the year, we are in the cage practicing our bunts.”

“I give Hodgdon a lot of credit,” coach Sherman said. “They exploited us (defensively) with small ball and they made us pay for it.”

Both squads struggled at times when the rain intensified, resulting in several wild pitches or errant throws. 

“The girls played hard and did everything I asked of them,” coach Sherman said. “We hit the ball hard, and were very aggressive on the bases. We made some mistakes though, but I can live with it as long as they are being aggressive.”

HODGDON, Maine — June 9, 2022 — Racing down the first base line after dropping a bunt is Hodgon’s Gracie Little (left) as Southern Aroostook pitcher Jayniece Wenzloff fields the ball during Thursday’s Class D North quarterfinal. Hodgdon won 14-9.  (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HODGDON, Maine — June 9, 2022 — Diving back to first base is Hodgdon’s Sadie Thompson as Southern Aroostook first baseman Callie Russell awaits the ball during Thursday’s Class D North quarterfinal. Hodgdon won 14-9. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HODGDON, Maine — June 9, 2022 — Southern Aroostook’s Maddie Russell overcame an injury to play in Thursday’s Class D North quarterfinal against Hodgdon. The Warriors fell 14-9.  (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HODGDON, Maine — June 9, 2022 — Caught trying to steal home is Southern Aroostook’s Callie Russell (right) as Hodgdon pitcher Sadie Thompson runs at her with the ball during Thursday’s Class D North quarterfinal. Hodgdon won 14-9. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HODGDON, Maine — June 9, 2022 — Southern Aroostook’s Addyson Schmidt (left) puts the tag on Hodgdon’s Meghan Peters on a steal attempt during Thursday’s Class D North quarterfinal. Hodgdon won 14-9. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

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