Tom King’s Write up in the Telegraph.
Two years ago it was a pitcher’s duel.
But that’s not going to happen in any game the Campbell High School girls softball team is involved in in 2021
No, the Cougars see the ball, and they not only hit the ball, they crush it. They pounded out 16 hits including three homers to rout Hopkinton, 18-6 on Saturday at Memorial Field for the Division III championship.
Hard to believe in 2019 the Hawks won a 2-0 title game with many of these same Cougars in the lineup as sophomores.
This time, they followed the lead of their catcher, senior Chloe Steiniger who had a double, two homers and seven RBIs. The game ended in the sixth thanks to the 12-run mercy rule.
“We’ve got 10 seniors, we’ve been together since we were about eight years old,” said Steiniger, who played third base in 2019. “We came in headstrong and said we’re starting it from the ground up.”
And the hit total just kept going up, and up, and up vs. poor Hawks starter Megan Kimball-Rhines.
“Against a pitcher we prepared for, we knew what we were going to be doing, attacking her first pitches,” Cougars coach Eric Gibbons said, his team capping off a 17-0 season. “And it worked out. She’s a pitcher who works in front, you get behind and then she throws the junk. We never let it get there.”
They didn’t against much of anyone this year. The Cougars outscored the opposition 165-20 during the regular season, mainly against Division II competition thanks to the regional scheduling. Then they blasted teams 59-11 in the tournament.
“They’re just a great hitting lineup,” Hopkinton coach Dan Meserve said of the Cougars. “We needed to shut the door down early and make them start doubting themselves. Hey, they’re a good club, they hit the ball hard. … And we just didn’t do it defensively. And the way they hit, exactly. Up and down the lineup, they’re good.”
After scratching out a run thanks to two Hopkinton errors in the first inning, the Cougars went to work in the second and third. A Hawks error brought in two, and then Steiniger doubled one in and Carignan ht a two-run homer that made it a 7-2 game.
After the six-spot in the second, Campbell went back to it with four in the third, the big blow a Steiniger three-run blast that increased the lead to 11-6.
Poor Kimball-Rhines never had a chance, and she was done after giving up two more in the fourth on Riley Gamache’s RBI single and a Steiniger sac fly.
Hopkinton actually led 2-1.
And when the Cougars upped that lead to 7-2, the Hawks came right back in the top of the third with four more with an Elrick RBI double, a Brooke Carlson sac fly and pinch-hit RBI single by Abby Simpson. Elrick’s double forced the Cougars to lift pitcher Maddie Davis in favor of reliever Catherine Carignan, as Davis took a shot off the leg on an infield hit by Kyanna Landry before Elrick was due up.
But after giving up a sac fly and RBI hit, Carignan kept the Hawks off the scoreboard the rest of the way, allowing just two hits in the next three innings.
“At first I was a little nervous, but after that first half inning, I was definitely ready to get in my groove, and I felt really good after,” Carignan, one of two juniors on the team, said.