Monday afternoon the Blue Devils went over to Hudson to take on manager Denise Rioux’ Alvirne Broncos who they beat 1-0 in a marathon semi-final game in Concord last year in 11 innings. This year Rioux has a freshman pitcher named Taylor Carbone that several Blue Devil players know all too well. Salem coach Harold Sachs tossed his ace Nora Galvin out on the hill to battle Carbone, and battle these teams did, for the entire seven innings. Galvin had a one-hit shutout and Carbone came up in the last of the sixth inning and launched a long solo homer, which was the only run in this game. Galvin also had all three hits that Carbone surrendered in this game, but Alvirne won this nail-biter 1-0 to put their Class L record at 5-4 and drop the Blue Devils mark to 7-2.
Friday morning Manchester Central came down for a game to face Dominque Heres, and she’s shut out the Little Green on a two-hitter, and sophomore Val Bauer came in to toss a scoreless inning of relief ball. Salem only had eight hits in this game, but three of them came off the powerful bat off freshman Amanda Baron. Baron had two doubles and drove in four of Salem’s runs as they ran their Class L record to 7-1 with a 6-0 shutout of Central. Salem scored their first two runs of the game in the second inning when Julia Gray walked and stole second base and then came racing home on Amanda Baron’s first hit of the game. With one out, Sarah Bracken walked, and with two outs, freshman outfielder Stephanie Long sizzled a single up the middle to score Baron, and Steph Cabral followed with a single to score Bracken that made it a 3-0 game after two innings. Salem increased the lead to 5-0 in the third inning when Gray singled and Amanda Vaudreuil reached on an error and then came prancing across the plate on another two-run double by Amanda Baron.
Last week, Sachs and the Blue Devils started off their week in Manchester facing Rachel Hedge and the Memorial Crusaders. Evidently somebody forgot to tell the Crusaders about Salem’s junior pitcher Nora Galvin because all she would do on the day is toss a perfect game at Memorial going into the last inning. The Crusaders were able to score a run, thanks to a bloop single and a Salem error, but the Blue Devils upped their record to 6-1 with a 6-1 victory over Memorial. Steph Cabral is a very good hitter for Salem who can also run the bases with reckless abandon, and she had two of the hits and scored two runs, including the one that gave the Blue Devils an early 1-0 lead. Jade Morrison is a speedy sophomore left fielder who also scored two runs, while co-captain Erica DePinto is a Class L All-Star catcher who just cleans the bases up when people are on. DePinto had two hits and drove in two runs, while junior outfielder Julia Gray knocked in a couple of runs when she smoked a long double. Sophomore second baseman Sarah Bracken also cracked two hits in the game.
It’s almost the midway point of the Class L tennis season, and coach Curt Killion’s Blue Devil girls swingers have compiled a 6-0 record to this point. This past Monday, the Salem girls traveled west to Hudson to take on the Alvirne Broncos and they had little trouble coming away with a 6-3 win. The Broncos feature two very good singles players in Kayla Belanger and Deanna Trearchis, and they were able to get off to a 2-0 start over Salem after Belanger beat Angela Rullo 8-2 at number one singles, and Trearchis fought off Danica Blakslee 8-5 in the number two singles contest. The Blue Devils dominated the last four singles sets to take a 4-2 advantage going into doubles action. Freshman Rachel Ward continues to impress, as she won her number three singles test 8-2 over Nicole Wilcox, and number four singles player Caitlin Peters dominated Cheyenne Tessier 8-zip. Freshman Cassie Hailson has come on like gangbusters in the past two weeks, and she beat Katie Vaccaro 8-1 at number five singles, while Breanna Edelstein gave Salem some breathing room heading into doubles with an 8-4 win over Gina Lupoli. In doubles action, Belanger and Trearchis were able to defeat Rullo and Andea Vinci 8-2, but that’s the last point the Broncos would take on the day. Blakslee and Peters carved up the duo of Wilcox and Vaccaro 8-3, and Ward and Julianna Blaisdell took an 8-5 victory over Kate Martin and Miranda Giraldo.
Last Friday was supposed to be a classic showdown at the tennis courts in Windham where coach Killion’s unbeaten Salem girls were supposed to host the unbeaten Manchester Central Little Green girls, but that match was rained out and will be made up in a week or two. The Blue Devil girls started off the week with a nice 6-3 victory over the 5-1 Manchester Memorial Crusaders. Once again, Salem’s number one singles player Angela Rullo sacrificed herself and took on Desirea Varpossum, but lost 8-4. Danica Blakslee evened the match at 1-1 with an 8-2 victory over Jackie Janigian. Caitlin Peters moved up to number three singles and destroyed Dani Janas 8-2, before the Crusaders number four girl was able to defeat Andrea Vinci 8-3 to even the match again at 2-2. Breanna Edelstein came up big for the Blue Devils at number five singles as she dueled with Heather Kent for what seemed like forever, before Breanna won a 9-8 tie-breaker to put her team in front for good. Just for good measure, Cassie Hailson took the number six singles set 8-5 over Emily Morin. Leading 4-2 going into doubles action, Salem only had to take one of the three sets, and Rullo and Vinci didn’t waste any time picking up that win at number one doubles with a 9-8 win that saw them take the tie-breaker 10-9 in a thrilling contest. Blakslee and Peters also had to win a 9-8 tie-breaker at 7-4, and Memorial was able to win the number three doubles contest for the 6-3 final.
The Salem Blue Devil boys lacrosse team came closer to the .500 mark last Monday afternoon when they took a 3-2 first quarter lead against Manchester Memorial, upped it to 5-2 at halftime, and them breezed to an 8-4 win over the Crusaders that raised their Division I record to 3-6 midway through the regular season. Joe Scire has been a hot goaltender for coach Chris Kelleher’s Blue Devil stickers and he played maybe his finest game last Monday at home against the Crusaders. Salem’s scoring was spread out as Nick Harbilas led the Salem attack with three goals and Brett Miller tallied a pair of scores. Kyle Kenney, Jake Matthews, and Kevin Baudin also chipped in with big scores for the Blue Devils, while Miller handed out five assists, and Matthews and Brett Pittera each had an assist.
Coach Kelleher might think that last Thursday’s tough 10-6 loss at Londonderry, might have been the turning point of his kids playing good tough lacrosse against one of the tougher upper echelon teams in Division 1. The Lancers took a 4-1 lead over Salem in the first quarter and could only catch a 5-2 halftime lead at the break. The Blue Devils simply would not go away and each team scored three goals, each in the third period, giving the Lancers a small 8-5 lead heading into the final frame. The Lancers held on for the 10-6 victory over the Blue Devils, but Salem gave them everything they had plus a little more. Jake Matthews tallied two goals for Salem, while other goals were scored by Brett Miller, Kevin Baudin, Nick Harbilas, and Kyle Kenney. Miller had two assists and Brett Pittera, Harbilas, and Matthews had one apiece. Joe Scire once again came up big, as the Salem goalie would get 21 gigantic saves in this game.
Salem baseball manager Dan Keleher was asked about a month ago, by this reporter, if he would be pleased with a 5-5 start on the season, seeing that his varsity team is entirely made up of Blue Devils that played either JV or freshman ball last year. Keleher’s short answer was simple, “That would be unacceptable. They all played together last year and it’s time to step up at the next level.” Monday his team came to the halfway point of the season when Alvirne came to Michele Park, and Keleher tabbed Gerry Acosta to get his first varsity start against the Broncos’ Matt King. Salem entered the game with a 6-3 record and Alvirne was 5-3. Alvirne hit the ball much better than the Blue Devils on this day (as they pounded out 117 hits to Salem’s five), but after being tied at 4-4 after three innings, the Broncos edged ahead 6-4 in the fourth inning. The Broncos would bat around and cross eight runs in the top of the fifth inning and would get the 14-4 win that dropped Salem’s record to 6-4. Jordan Estevez singled to lead off the first inning for Salem, went to second on a wild pitch, then to third when Matt Gioia reached on an error. Estevez scored on Josh Heil’s RBI single, but that’s the only lead the Blue Devils would ever have on this day.
The Blue Devils traveled north to Sanford, ME, Saturday to see how they’ve improved after Sanford had beaten them pretty good in a scrimmage about a month ago. This time around it was the stellar pitching performance from Jake Lambert and the big Salem bats that produced a big 10-1 Blue Devil victory. Lambert tossed a three-hit beauty for the win that saw the top of the Salem batting order explode with a bevy of hits that broke open a close 2-1 game after five innings. The Blue Devils added four runs in the sixth inning and another four runs in the seventh to put the game away and raise their season record to 6-3. Senior Josh Heil had a four for five game with three runs scored and two driven in, while Matt Gioia had a three for five game with three runs scored and three runs batted in. Jordan Estevez and “Downtown” Darren Brown also had three hits each, with Brown knocking in three runs also. Jared Scaili and Sam Fazioli had two big hits each for Salem who pounded out 18 hits on the day.
The Blue Devils visited Gill Stadium Friday for a big battle against Manchester Central and their star hurler Cole Warren. This is the type of game that manager Dan Keleher would show him a lot about how his young team was coming together, and it was a classic contest. The Little Green’s Cole Warren would toss a one-hitter against Salem, but the Blue Devils still found ways to score single runs in the first and third inning. Salem took a brief 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Jared Scali walked with one out and stole second with two outs. Scaili scored when Darren Brown reached on an error. Central was quick to tie it up at 1-1 in the last of the first inning. Their lead-off hitter tripled off Salem lefty Nick Poore and the next hitter singled to tie the game. Salem regained the lead in the top of the third with Scali being the villain for the Blue Devils once again. Scali drew another walk with two outs and took second base on a wild pitch. Josh Heil reached on a Central throwing error that saw Scali come around to score and put Salem up 2-1. A sacrifice fly and three Central singles scored two runs for Central, and that was the way it ended as Warren won a 3-2 game with a one-hitter. Salem sophomore center fielder Brendan Dunn was the lucky Blue Devil to get the lone hit off of Warren.
Manchester Memorial hit the ball last Wednesday against the Blue Devils, but Jared Scali had some tight defense behind him, and the Salem took advantage of six Crusader errors to grab a tough 4-2 decision that put their Class L record at 5-2. Scali only yielded a single in the top of the first inning, and then completely shut the Memorial bats down for the next three innings, until they clubbed a two out double in the fifth inning. Salem grabbed a 1-0 lead in the last of the first inning when junior shortstop Jordan Estevez reached on an error, stole second, and went to third on Josh Heil’s single. Estevez put Salem up 1-0 when he scored on Darren Brown’s double down the leftfield line. Salem made it a 2-0 game in the last of the second inning when Brendan Dunn singled with one out, stole second base, and was plated by a Jordan Estevez single. Salem kept their 2-0 lead all the way up until the top of the sixth inning when the Crusaders tied it up with a pair of runs. In the last of the sixth inning, the Blue Devils put it away when Matt Gioia led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Josh Heil. Darren Brown walked and Sam Fazioli singled to drive in Gioia with the eventual game winner. Josh Treff hit a sacrifice fly later in the inning to score Brown and Salem had their 4-2 win. Jared Scali picked up the win as he scattered five hits and two runs, with Nick Poore picking up the save.
Sunday, May 3, Salem Youth Soccer Association (SYSA) opened their spring recreational season. Kids were suited up and ready to play. Players from all age groups took to the fields with enthusiasm. SYSA is excited for another great season!