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Nutting's clutch hit helps Bishop Guertin into Div. I softball final vs. Londonderry

Jun. 4—HOLDERNESS — A five-run seventh inning and a stellar relief outing from Michaela Bowen on Tuesday at D&M Park led the Bishop Guertin softball team to the NHIAA Division I softball final as the 11th seed.

The Cardinals blew open a 2-2 game on six hits in the seventh. Bowen, a senior right-hander, allowed no earned runs on two hits and two walks alongside eight strikeouts.

Bishop Guertin (13-8) will play top-seeded Londonderry in the Division I final on Saturday night (7) back at D&M Park. The Lancers topped their fifth-seeded arch-rivals, Pinkerton Academy, with a 2-1 walk-off win in Tuesday's

Second-seeded Winnacunnet finished with a 17-4 record.

Bishop Guertin's only other state final appearance was in 2017, when it defeated Bedford, 2-1, for the Division I title.

The Cardinals loaded the bases in the seventh on three straight one-out singles from Chloe Sellers, Avery Zapanas and Jenny Davey.

Bella Nutting then stepped into the batter's box, at that point 0-for-3 on the day. The junior belted a double to left center field that cleared the bases and turned a deadlock into a 5-2 Cardinals lead.

"I always tell them (the players), 'You might be 0-for-2 but 1-for-3 is a great day,'" said BG coach Dakota Bilodeau, who was a senior on the program's 2017 state championship team. "Her 1-for-(4) sure was a great day."

The Cardinals added two more runs on Bowen's RBI single, also to left center field, and Meara McDevitt's single right back at Winnacunnet senior pitcher Maddy Eaton.

BG knotted the score at 2-2 on Giavanna Bellino's two-out, two-RBI single to right field in the fifth. Bellino's single drove in Sellers and Zapanas, who both reached base with singles to right.

Eaton, who will pitch at Division II Saint Michael's College next spring and is one of the premier pitchers in the division, allowed seven earned runs on 14 hits and no walks with three strikeouts.

"We knew we were going to have to get after her (Eaton) and we connected on a few balls, which worked out well," Bilodeau said.

Winnacunnet senior Joslyn Snow opened the game's scoring in the second inning when she drove in her younger sister, Lillian.

Lillian, a junior, drew a one-out walk and scored on Joslyn's two-out RBI single. Joslyn drove the ball right at Cardinals third baseman Nutting, who stretched to make the catch, but the ball bounced in and out of her glove into left field.

The Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the third on Maeve Shapiro's one-out RBI double to center field that scored Halisa Carter. Winnacunnet then loaded the bases after Eaton drew a walk but Bowen recorded two straight three-pitch strikeouts to end the threat.

Bowen also sent the Warriors down in order in the fourth and at one point recorded four straight strikeouts.

Davey, BG's junior starter, allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk alongside three strikeouts over two innings.

"I think it took all season for us to get there but we wanted to play our best softball at the end and I'd say we definitely are," Bilodeau said.

ahall@unionleader.com