The Keene softball team celebrated its seniors in style with a 13-0, five-inning win over Monadnock Thursday in Keene.
The Blackbirds got the bats going right away — a stark difference from their game against Concord just 24 hours prior — and scored seven runs in the first inning. Keene only had three hits but took advantage of four Monadnock errors in the inning.
Keene (12-5) sent 11 hitters to the plate before the third out was recorded.
“I was happy to see the kids putting the ball in play and getting in scoring position,” said Keene head coach Peter Vearling.
Junior Maya Carey reached on an error to lead things off, then freshman Asianah Gostyla brought her around to score with an RBI double and the flood gates were open.
Carey finished with a game-high four RBI.
Gostyla and seniors Maddy Miner and Destiny Martineau each had two RBI.
By the end of the game, every Blackbird had come around to score at least once.
“I think they were a lot more invested today,” Vearling said. “They were concentrating more.”
Senior Emma Bartlett was back in the circle after moving to the outfield for the last few games. She threw all five innings, giving up just four hits and no walks while striking out six batters.
“She looked very strong today,” Vearling said. “Considering she hasn’t been under any pressure for a while pitching, I thought she did very well.”
Sophomore Shawn Bixby got the start for Monadnock (5-6) and pitched all four innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits.
She also hit a single to lead off the fifth inning and reached third base but couldn’t come around to score.
Juniors Grace LeClair and Jayden Hatt, as well as sophomore Julia Hoden, had the other three hits for the Huskies.
Before the game, the Blackbirds celebrated their four seniors: Bartlett, Laurel Clace, Martineau and Miner. All four were in the starting lineup Thursday.
“The thing that’s impressed me about these seniors is that they’re very fundamentally sound,” Vearling said. “With all these young kids, they’ve done a wonderful job of pulling them together. The young kids really respect and love these guys. I’m going to miss these guys when they leave.”
“I’ve gotten to know these girls like they’re my siblings,” said Miner, who had another stellar defensive game at second base. “They’re exactly like family. It’s been really nice.”
Weather permitting, the teams will play again Friday in Keene to wrap up the regular season.
From there, Monadnock visits Kearsarge and Keene travels to Manchester Memorial to kick off the NHIAA tournament. Both playoff games will be Monday at 4 p.m.