Sports

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Maddie Haufe swings on a pitch during the game. Haufe would later tie the game with a two run double in the seventh inning. | by Siobhan Richards.

by Dakota Antelman

After forcing extra innings with a six-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Hawk softball team lost one of its longest games in recent memory on Saturday, May 20 by a score of 10-6 in the tenth inning. The late season loss now amplifies the pressure on the Hawks to secure a spot in next month’s playoff tournament.

“That’s a stinger,” said head coach Laura Bowen after the game. “That’s a stinger of a loss.”

The Hawks fell behind early thanks to a three-run Tantasqua first inning. Lindsey Zac started the scoring for the Warriors with a sacrifice fly with no outs in that inning. Kelsey Emrish and Marie Stewart tacked on RBIs of their own as the Warriors sent all nine of their batters to the plate before Hudson could get off the field.

“I think that we put ourselves in a hole,” Bowen said. “When we came out in the first inning and let up three runs, we put pressure on ourselves before we even got a bat in our hand which stinks.”

The score held until the fifth inning when Zac and Emrish knocked in two more runs for Tantasqua, giving them a 5-0 lead. Abby LaFountain batted in Tantasqua’s sixth run in the top of the sixth inning.

As the Warrior offense thrived, the Hawks had just two hits and a walk as they entered the seventh inning trailing 6-0. Two walks and two singles to lead off that inning, however, seemed to turn things around.

“A lot of teams down 6-0 in the seventh inning are going to go up and give up,” said Bowen. “But we brought the next batter up and had quality at bats.”

As Tantasqua batted around in the first inning, the Hawks did the same in the seventh inning, scoring six times during ten individual at bats. Amanda Doucette managed to break the Tansatqua shutout with an RBI single with no outs. Jordyn Safranski then scored from third base on a wild pitch, and Megan Miller chipped away at the lead with a two-run single with two outs. Maddie Haufe finally tied the game with a base clearing two-run double.

“It’s just the momentum that’s going through you [that keeps you going],” Haufe said of her team’s ability to come back. “We were getting pumped up, thinking we can win when we came back with all those runs.”

The game remained deadlocked after the seventh inning, however, dragging into the tenth inning before the Warriors revived their offense. They scored four times in the top of the tenth inning and stifled Hudson’s attempt at a second comeback in the bottom of that inning, winning the game.

While she celebrated Hudson’s ability to force extra innings, Bowen said she wished her team scored earlier in the game.

“We kept saying, ‘Make an adjustment from your at-bats; learn what the umpire is calling; learn what [the pitcher] is throwing,'” she said. “I think that definitely helps. She was a good pitcher, I’m not taking any credit away from her, but, like I said, we have to make adjustments earlier than that.”

The Hawks now sit in third place in the MidWach B league. They need at least two wins out of their last four regular season games if they are to return to the playoffs. Though she said that path will be difficult, Bowen vowed after the Tantasqua loss to “go down fighting.”

“We’re putting a lot of pressure on ourselves for sure, but it’s absolutely doable,” she said. “These girls have it in them. It’s just a matter of if they want it or not.”

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Jack Cecelya throws off to the Bromfield team after Hudson scored late in their opening day game on Friday. | by Dakota Antelman

by Dakota Antelman

Ultimate frisbee player Jack Cecelya wore a shirt with the words “If you build it…” scrawled on it last Friday, a reference to the words Ray Kinsella hears in his cornfield in the movie Field of Dreams.

Indeed, he and 10 other HHS students, with head coach Mark Krans, built an ultimate frisbee team this past winter. On Friday, Bromfield came to play in Hudson’s first match.

The team has been practicing in the HHS gym and on local fields since October. Their game Friday, however, marked a new step in expanding ultimate frisbee at Hudson High as the team began competing in interscholastic games for the first time.

“Ultimate is a beautiful sport,” Krans said. “It’s great competition. People who play ultimate love ultimate, and they play it for the rest of their lives. Just to give these kids an opportunity to play against the other high schools and whoever else we can play around here is a great opportunity.”

The matchup kicked off a nine-game schedule that will take Hudson to a variety of nearby towns for games against teams including Nashoba, Billerica, Lincoln-Sudbury and Groton-Dunstable.

Bromfield, which is entering its fourth season as an organized program, did manage to beat the rookie Hawk team. However, they only did so late in a game which had been tied 7-7 after nearly two hours of play at Hudson’s Intel Field.

After their team’s eventual 8-7 win on a sudden death “Universe Point” score, even Bromfield coaches and parents remarked on the strength of the Hudson team in its debut.

“You guys must have been practicing,” one parent said to Krans as she followed the Bromfield players off the field.

Though they lost, Krans and his players saw numerous bright spots in their debut. As their competitors noted, they say these bright spots were, in part, the result of nearly seven months of practice.

“I can throw a frisbee much better than I could going into this experience, which has been awesome,” said junior Elizabeth Cautela. “We’ve grown closer together as well. We’re friends now while we were just strangers before. We’re definitely like a family. We have a lot of fun together.”

Among the struggles for the Hawks was the introduction of heavy wind to their gameplay situations. Playing on the relatively open Intel field, the Hawks did often fail to connect with one another on long passes as their throws were frequently blown off course. They had not dealt with wind during their many months in the gym.

The game also marked one of the first regulation 7-on-7 games since the club started. Though their ranks have both swelled and shrunken since October, they have rarely had enough players show up at their early morning gym practices to run full team scrimmages. As of Friday’s game, the team only had 11 players on the roster.

Though they may not have been running full games, however, Krans said the months of practices have already generated conversation about ultimate frisbee among students and teachers. Krans, who called Massachusetts “one of the hotbeds of ultimate in the country,” noted his excitement about the growing popularity of the sport and his team in particular.

“The kids are loving it,” he said. “The teachers are hearing about it. I’m having a blast. The kids work hard, they’re teachable, they listen and they have improved so much in such a short period of time.”

New and already improved, the Hawks are eying the season ahead of them in hopes of succeeding at the state tournament in Northampton on June 1.

Looking beyond this year, the Hawks are doing their best Kevin Costner impression and hoping that since they built it — their team — more players will come.

“We called it the Hudson Ultimate Experiment because we weren’t sure if it was even going to take off and work out,” Krans said. “It’s taken off well, but we really need to grow, especially because four of our players are seniors who are going to be leaving at the end of the year. We want more young players to join so that we can build a legacy of the Hudson Ultimate Experiment.”

Cautela echoed that sentiment, saying that she has already seen and heard enough from prospective players to think that ultimate frisbee at HHS will be successful beyond this still young season.

“It’s something fresh,” she said, later adding. “A lot of these kids have been playing the same sports for 10 years or longer than that. They’ve been playing softball forever or baseball forever, and they’re tired of it and want something new. I think the future is pretty bright.”

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by Siobhan Richards

Hudson track and field had their first home meet against Quabbin on Thursday, April 27. The girls team pulled out a close win of 77-68, however the boys team fell to Quabbin 100-45.

 

 

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Ryann Sawyer slides to avoid the tag of Framingham catcher Kaitlin Carman. While Sawyer would not score on this play, she did score twice during the game with one hit and two walks. | by Dakota Antelman

by Dakota Antelman

Longtime softball assistant coach and acting head coach Ray Girard hastily answered his phone Tuesday as his team celebrated their 8-1 win over Framingham in the first round of the annual Cheryl Jones tournament.

Newly appointed full time head coach Laura Bowen was calling from Hawaii to check in on the game’s result. But her team had already ensured that she had little to worry about as they improved their record to 3-0 with another day of solid fielding, batting and baserunning in particular.

“It showed how solid we are as a team,” said pitcher Sophia Togneri. “There were a lot of balls in play, and everyone needed to hit well and hit as a team to get the win that we did. It shows how we’re really bonding as a team.”

Though it started slowly, the Hawks scored in the middle innings of the game and held on for the win. After failing to get a runner on base during the first inning, the Hawks scored three times in the game’s second frame to take a 3-1 lead.

They tacked on another run in the third inning when Emily White drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded that scored Togneri. The walk was already the eighth of the day for the Hawks and the fourth in just the third inning alone. They finished the game with 13 walks.

“The first three innings, they were swinging at stuff over their heads, but they finally got it together from then on and they knew they needed to stay focused,” Girard said about the walks. “If you start swinging at pitches over your head, you’re going to pick up bad habits. This is a good team, and we didn’t do that too much.”

Hudson followed up White’s walk with a fourth inning offensive explosion that stretched their lead to 8-1. They racked up 10 at-bats during an inning that started with a leadoff single by Megan Miller and ended with a ground-out also by Miller. Ryann Sawyer, Fillmore, White and Sydney Chiasson all picked up RBIs between those two Miller at-bats.

The Hawks quieted the Framingham bats from that point forward, allowing just one hit as they maintained their seven-run advantage.

Togneri, in particular, finished the game with six strikeouts, bringing her season total to 24. She also allowed just three hits, the second time this season she has done so. However, she was quick to deflect praise to her fielders.

by Dakota Antelman
by Dakota Antelman

“I was kind of nervous coming into this season after we had an infield that was so tight last year with all the seniors,” she said in reference to last season’s infield quartet of Haley Gaffney, Keeliey Zompetti, Keaton Prashaw, and Steph Hamilton. “I wasn’t sure how we were going to work together or if it was going to be the same [this year]. Today really gave me confidence in my fielders that, no matter what I throw, they’ll have my back.”

Her infield, now played by Haufe, Miller, Amanda Doucette, Natalie Bishop, and, later, Ashley Sousa, committed no errors in Tuesday’s game and recorded 9 of the contest’s 21 outs.

The Hawks now move into the championship round of the Cheryl Jones tournament. The final, scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m., pits them against Dracut.

“They can hit, they can field, and they have an outstanding pitcher, just like us, so it should be interesting to see,” Girard said. “It’s going to be a battle, and that’s the way it should be in the championship round.”

From there, with Bowen back as their head coach, they will resume their regular season schedule with games against Shepherd Hill, Nashoba, and Groton-Dunstable next week.