Canes intent on topping themselves in softball

By BEN HOOKE

Valley News Correspondent

Published: 05-25-2024 3:00 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The Hartford High softball team notched its best performance in 30 years last season. This year, the Hurricanes seem well on their way to surpassing it.

The Hurricanes overcame early hiccups to roll past Springfield, 11-4, at the Maxfield Sports Complex on Thursday night, moving into a virtual tie at the top of the VPA Division II standings with five games to go.

Hartford fell behind 2-0 before even getting a chance to bat but straightened up from there. The Hurricanes shut out the Cosmos for the next five innings and scored eight consecutive runs to blow the game open.

“I tell the team that pressure is a privilege. … When we go down, we just have to stay composed and work together as a team,” Hartford coach Danielle Tenney said of her team’s resilience.

After the Cosmos mounted a brief comeback, scoring two runs in the top of the sixth inning to slice the deficit to four, Hartford’s Madison Willey slammed the door in emphatic fashion in the bottom of the inning. With two runners on, the senior clubbed a 2-1 pitch over the center-field wall to put the game well out of reach.

Serenitee Martel went the distance in the circle for the Hurricanes, striking out eight batters and attacking the zone well to force Springfield batters to put the ball in play. The sophomore, called on this season to replace departing senior Marina Grassi, notched her 70th strikeout of the season in the win.

Martel also scored on her own in Little League style, driving a ball deep into the gap and coming home on a throwing error in the fourth inning.

Hartford advanced to 9-2 with the win, tied with Rice and a game in back of top-ranked Enosburg. The Hurricanes’ schedule, which pits them against a plethora of Division I opponents, has sharpened the team considerably. The Hurricanes have yet to lose to an opponent in their own division this year, falling only to D-I Mount Anthony (14-1) and St. Johnsbury (7-3).

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“We have a passionate group who care a lot about softball. This was the group that came in with me my first year, and I’m really proud to see them grow,” said Tenney.

Hartford returns to action with a trip to Burr & Burton on Tuesday.