Barton dominates, Central holds on despite late rally

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Rania Burton on Apr. 14, 2021 Photo/Andrew Sylvia

NASHUA, N.H. – Despite a late scare, Manchester Central kicked off its softball season on Wednesday with a 6-4 road victory against Nashua South.

The two teams traded runs early in the contest, beginning with an RBI triple from Central’s Rania Barton giving the visitors a 1-0 lead in the first. South’s Jill Daley evened things up in the second thanks to an error, a stolen base, another stolen base and a throwing error during second steal attempt that found its way to left field, giving her enough time to head home.

Cathleen Jonier scores a run for Central. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

Both teams combined for nine errors over the contest, accounting for the fact that the Barton no-hit the Panthers through 5 1/3 innings despite Daley scoring again in the fifth, again off a pair of stolen bases and a pair of errors.

Daley’s run cut the Little Green’s lead to 6-2, after a Haley Ciafo single put a run on the board for Central in the third and an eight-batter rally in the fifth put up four more runs, ending Daley’s day in the pitching circle.

The Panthers struck back in the sixth, with Lizzie DeRusha’s single breaking up the no-hitter and putting two more runs across the plate.

Abigail Heath legs out a single. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

Central was unable to answer in the seventh, but Barton managed to shut down the Panthers in the final frame in order.

Barton ended the contest with 11 Ks and just a pair of hits allowed to South.

“Rania’s one of the best pitchers in the state,” said South Head Coach Kevin Handy. “I saw Rania two years ago as a freshman, she beat Pinkerton, she beat us then. And she did it today with an inexperienced catcher, which made it all the more difficult.”

Central Head Coach Ashley Trzesiara also had praise for Daley, who ended with 7 Ks

“We had a lot of new underclassmen, they have to learn things on the fly,” said  “Also, a lot of new kids, some kids who haven’t picked up a softball for two years due to COVID and a small team this year, so they’re playing three or four positions and learning things during games. I have no qualms with their performance.”

The two teams meet again on Thursday in Manchester with an expected 4 p.m. start.

South’s Jill Daley. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

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Ryan O'Connor

As a longtime journalist in Southern New Hampshire, Ryan O'Connor has written for several local online and print publications covering everything from school board meetings and local high school sporting events to major crime stories and New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary (yes, the last two are mutually exclusive). In addition to spending time with his beautiful wife and four amazing children, Ryan enjoys attending and serving at church, golfing as much as possible, home brewing, playing softball and snowboarding when time allows.