The Haverhill High School baseball team won 14 games this spring, likely the most victories in a season by a Hillies baseball squad in school history.

The revitalized Hillies softball team captured 10 games in 2007 and earned its first state tournament berth since 2002.

Athletes on both teams garnered individual accolades, as three baseball players, Taylor Robinson, Miguel Soto and Bobby Shirling, were selected to the All-Merrimack Valley Conference Baseball Team, and Peter Byron was named a conference All-Star.

In softball, sophomore pitcher Alicia Briggs, who posted a 1.18 earned run average, was named MVC Division 2 Player of the Year, and Ashley Crocker and Robyn Arthur were selected as conference All-Stars.

In addition, Hillies softball coach Bob Walsh, who shepherded the Brown and Gold to an 11-9 record, was named MVC Division 2 Coach of the Year.

Good stories abounded this spring on the baseball and softball diamonds in Hillie Nation. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and both squads' seasons came to abrupt endings after their first games in the state tourney.

In baseball, the No. 6-ranked Hillies "made too many mistakes," according to coach Chip Dunn, in a 6-4 loss to No. 11 Waltham in the first round of the Division 1 North tourney.

In softball, despite a stellar effort from Briggs on the mound, the Hillies, seeded No. 18, were blanked by No. 16 Lowell, 4-0. Briggs fanned 13 batters and allowed four runs, one earned on seven hits and two walks. The Hillies, though, could not muster any offense as Arthur had Haverhill's only two hits in the loss.

In the baseball team's loss to Waltham, the host Hillies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning but later committed five errors that resulted in four unearned runs.

Soto, a senior playing in his final Hillies game, shined in his swan song. The centerfielder, who batted .469 with 15 RBIs and 24 runs scored this season, was 3 for 5 with an RBI single and a notable play in the outfield.

In addition to Soto, Shirling, a junior who earned All-Conference honors with a .283 average, 11 RBIs and 10 runs scored in only 14 games, collected two singles and an RBI. Sean Hayden and Joshua Chasse each had a pair of hits and scored a run in the 6-4 loss.

On defense, right fielder Byron made the play of the game, as he charged into shallow right field and made a diving catch. Junior Leif Sorenson, who entered the game unbeaten (4-0) with a 1.81 ERA, was the tough-luck losing pitcher as he threw five-plus innings. Sorenson struck out seven and walked three. Robinson relieved him after two batters in the sixth and allowed a single run and struck out three.

Looking ahead, both Hillies teams are not only young but they return all of their top pitchers. In baseball, Robinson (6-0, 2.01 ERA), Sean Hayden (4-4, 3.99 ERA) and Sorenson (4-0, 1.81 ERA) are all underclassmen, and Briggs, the softball Player of the Year, is only a sophomore.

And that should make for good news next spring on the baseball and softball diamonds.

This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you