Souhegan softball survives two Milford rallies

MILFORD – The Milford High School softball team had already completed an impressive comeback from eight runs down over a three-inning span to tie Tuesday’s Division II game against Souhegan, but needed one more rally in the seventh to stay alive.

Trailing 13-11 with two outs and runners on second and third, the Spartans were a Carley Holtshouser single away from tying the contest for the second straight inning. Holtshouser made contact and the ball found its way into outfield grass after a misplay from shortstop Val Mukai, but it was the Sabers who were celebrating as the tying run from second crossed home plate.

The umpires ruled that Milford’s Delaney Parker made contact with Mukai as she was fielding the ball, causing the error that would have ultimately tied the game. Instead, defensive interference was called and Souhegan held on for a 13-11 win on a bizarre finish.

Spartans coach Jim Rines disagreed with the call, and argued to the umpires that no contact was made between Parker and Mukai.

“I’m not sure if contact was made,” Rines said. “I thought our runner was behind the fielder.”

Tuesday’s game saw a combined five home runs, 28 hits and five pitching changes, but it was an innocent ground ball to short that determined the outcome.

“The way it ended with the defensive interference was a little weird,” Souhegan interim coach Tony Doucet said. “I think it was the right call.”

Milford overcame deficits of 9-1 and 11-6 to tie the game with five runs in the bottom of the sixth. But the positive vibes were short-lived, as Lauren McCormick and Abrie Davis led off the seventh with back-to-back home runs to put the Sabers up 13-11.

“That was a perfect answer to their five runs that inning,” Doucet said. “When they start chipping away, all the momentum shifts to their side. I think our girls did a good job sticking in it. Giving up a big lead like that, especially in the bottom of the sixth when they came and tied it up, that can deflate a team. I think our girls did a good job coming right back. Lauren and Abrie going back-to-back to start the seventh was huge.”

Erin Tyrell started the Spartans’ six-inning rally with a leadoff home run to cut the deficit to 11-7. Souhegan right fielder Sam Allen dropped a fly ball by Jen Carson with two outs and the bases loaded to score Kathy Paul and Parker. Julia Mazzeo followed with a two-run single to tie the score at 11 apiece.

“Whenever we play Milford it’s like nothing is safe,” Doucet said.

Jenn Dupuis gave the Spartans their only lead with an RBI double in the first inning.

The Sabers answered in the third with nine runs, highlighted by a leadoff home run by Mukai and a three-run homer from starting pitcher Hannah Cochran, who took a no-decision after allowing six runs on four hits over 22?3 innings. Hailey Yabroudy picked up the win in relief.

Parker allowed four runs over three-plus innings for the Spartans before being pulled, but returned for an inning of scoreless work in the top of the fourth and seventh. Milford as a team allowed 15 hits and four home runs to Souhegan.

“We just didn’t pitch well (Tuesday),” Rines said. “We didn’t spot up on the ball, we missed location. We were just not there. And they’re too good of hitters to not hit your spots.

“We know that they’re gonna hit. We know that they’re gonna hit a couple home runs. But they can’t go score five, six runs in an inning. If we can limit them to two or three, it’s OK.”

The Spartans chipped away at the Sabers lead with five runs in the bottom of the third. Dupuis hit a two-run single to cut it to 9-3, while RBIs from Bethany Brewer, Parker and Rachel Nelson made it 9-6.

Cori Sousa drove in a pair on a two-out single with the bases loaded in the fifth to extend the Souhegan advantage to 11-6.

Milford closes its regular season at Lebanon on Thursday, while the Sabres finish at home against Trinity Friday.