DIXFIELD -- The Mountain Valley and Dirigo baseball teams entered a game with different adversities to address last week.
This resulted from games each had played the previous day. MV had lost 10-2 at Telstar, while Dirigo beat Mount Abram.
The Falcons scored two unearned runs in the top of the first, but the Cougars responded with four runs in their at-bats.
Falcon starting pitcher Sean Murphy struggled, Dirigo utilized aggressive base running (stolen 24 bases in four games), to lead 7-2.
The youthful MV team refused to buckle and scored four runs, Ryan Nicols scored on a Josh Rainey RBI single to pull the Falcons to within 7-6 in the fourth.
Dirigo erupted for 10 runs on six hits in the fourth inning off Falcon relievers Colin Merrill, Adam Volkernick and Dalton Bradley. The onslaught was unexpected and MV coach Steve LaPointe put things in perspective.
“I was not really frustrated, just expecting more in the pitching department. I know these young guys can throw strikes.
They looked a bit shell shocked. We will get there though. It's a process. We've been experimenting. I think we will settle into a lineup from now on.”
The old is the new in the case of Elaine Michaud, who has coached tennis at Mountain Valley for 21 years, since the merger.
Although it must be different this season because Michaud had to step aside last spring for medical reasons.
“I knew I had to have the hip replacement in order to be able to keep teaching and coaching,” said Michaud, who teaches physical education at Mtn. Valley Middle School. “I missed it but knew it was just for one season.”
It was like starting over for the Lady Falcons, who endured a winless 2010 campaign. There is a different atmosphere flowing through the courts.
“There are no surprises,” said Michaud, regarding the team's start. “The kids are happy to at least have a win so far as they went 0-12 last year.”
The ladder is set with seniors Alyssa Greene, Hillary Cayer and Kelcie Virgin at the singles. Juniors Katie Billings and Stephanie Garcia elevated to first doubles, while sophomores Taylor Dickson and Vanessa Swett are a tandem at second doubles.
The Mountain Valley boys' tennis team is young and struggling. However, the players continue to show great promise.
“Great showing thus far,” said MV coach Todd Papianou. “Even in defeat, this group is shoulders back, chins up. They were impressed with how nice the other players are to them.”
One ladder change last week is freshmen Alex Durfee taking second singles from Cody Smith. Randolph Angotti facing stiff competition at one. Doubles are having communication issues but also having some success.
Meanwhile the Dirigo girls' tennis team, at 4-1, has already equaled its 2010 wins. The Lady Cougars bettered their record by beating rival Mountain Valley, 4-1.
Meredith Brown won at #2, 6-4 and 7-6 (7-4). Both players were playing well and it was also a hard fought entertaining match.
Addy Fuller dominated 6-0, 6-0 at No.3 singles.
Dirigo's first doubles pair, Cassidy Bigos and Ryanne Dailey won their point in straight sets, 6-1 and came back from 0-3 early in the second to take the set 7-5 against a determined pair, Stephanie Garcia and Taylor Dickson.
The Cougars remained unbeaten at second doubles, with Kirsten Uhde playing in place of Grace Hebert, with Coral Howe. They won the point decisively, 6-0 and 6-3 over a determined freshman pair, Abby Pinkham and Elizabeth Adley.
The Falcons earned a point when Alyssa Greene came back from a 4-6 loss in the first set to win her first singles match with Betsy Noyes, 6-4, 6-3. Both players got tentative in the middle set then picked up the pace again in the third and every point was a battle.
Unbeaten at second doubles, Grace Hebert and Coral Howe never has held a ladder position before. Bigos and Dailey have moved up from second doubles to first.
“They are finding the challenge greater there but have won four of their six chances,” said coach Art Chamberlin. “Betsy Noyes has improved and Meredith Brown has really stepped her game up to a new level.”
“Last year, we had to concentrate on learning the game and basic techniques enough to stay in a point,” said Chamberlin.
“This year, we have set a goal to improve on our 4-8 record. Watching the way that the individual players have stepped up their games from 2010 has been very rewarding."