MANCHESTER, NH – Playing up two divisions Monday evening, the Division-III Trinity High School girls softball team proved division is nothing but a number.
The Pioneers took down Queen City rival Manchester Central for the second time in four days, earning a 5-1 victory at Manchester’s Padden Field.
“You know, we’re playing a Division I team and we’re beating a Division I team, so right there that’s a good feeling,” said Trinity head coach Jay Brewster. “And we like playing our city rivals. We don’t get a chance to do it all the time.”
The Pioneers, thus far, have seen contributions up and down the lineup and in the field, which has led to three wins in their last five games.
Trinity leadoff hitter Emma Service set the tone from the first at-bat of Monday’s contest, reaching on a single in the first inning and then stealing second before being brought home on a Sarah Sewell RBI single.
That was the only run in a tight contest before Emily Lucinskas walked to begin the top of the fifth inning. Lucinskas was bunted to second and Service reached on her second hit of the game to push Lucinskas to third, which setup Sewall, who singled to garner her second RBI.
Kiera Gilman was next in line and kept the line moving by promptly lining a double to left-center field to knock home Service and cleanup hitter Mikayla Murray capped the scoring with a single that pushed Sewall across the plate.
Meanwhile, Gilman held the Little Green at bay, striking out 12 while holding Central to four hits.
Central’s lone run of the game came in the sixth inning when junior captain Rania Barton reached on an error, stole a base and then scored on a Meghan Wade single.
Barton and sophomore Hailey Cinfro combined to keep the game close from the Central circle.
Divisions aside, coaches from both teams agreed the inner-city matchups are great for the programs, especially when both teams feature many young athletes gaining experience on the fly.
“Trinity is a lot like us,” said Central head coach Ashley Trzesiara. “We both have decent pitching all around, so that’s always a good competition at the plate, and they’ve stepped up against us. A lot of it just depends on how the girls play and who wants to show up.”
The win improved Trinity’s record to 3-5 while dropping Central to 1-7 with less than half a season remaining for both squads.
The Pioneers are next scheduled to play on Wednesday at 4 p.m. when they host Hopkinton. Next week, they’ll embrace another pair of Queen City clashes, this time with Manchester Memorial on Monday the 17th and Wednesday the 19th, and then close the regular season with a road contest at Raymond on May 21 and a home matchup with Pelham on the 24th before heading to the Division-III playoff tournament, which begins with regional contests.
“It’s all building blocks for us,” said Brewster. “You know, (when it comes to the playoffs), we don’t know who we’ll be playing. We don’t know what kind of teams they are. We’ve seen that Bishop Brady is real good and we know Campbell is really good just looking at the scores they’re putting up against other teams, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re playing them first, but whoever we draw, we’ll just do what we did today and do our best out there.”
The Little Green, featuring nine varsity players, find themselves in the midst of a learning year, said Trzesiara.
“We have very few kids … so a lot of it has just been moving them around and finding them good positions to learn in,” she said. “They’ve stepped up a great deal. A lot of them have never played at a varsity level before, so I’m extremely happy with how we’ve come along this season. It may not be a huge win season so far, but what they’re learning for the long run is way more important than wins and losses.”
One example has been a huge reduction in errors from the first couple games, when Central players were committing errors in the double digits, to Monday night when they played solid defense and made two errors the entire game.
“To me, that’s a huge improvement, so we may not be winning on the scoreboard, but there are plenty of other aspects where we are winning,” said Trzesiara.
Central next makes the short trek to Goffstown Thursday to makeup an earlier-season postponement before concluding the season with a home-and-home with Concord next Monday and Wednesday, a road trip to Hampton to face Winnacunnet Friday and then back-to-back matchups with Manchester Memorial to close the regular season on May 24 and 26.
“For the rest of the season, I just want them to continue to grow as players and at the positions they’re playing,” said Trzesiara. “Again, I’m super happy with how far they’ve come at this point, especially with what they’ve been tasked to do. They’ve played a lot of good teams, offensively and defensively strong teams, and for the most part they’ve come out and held their own.”