Salafia brilliant in circle, leads Timberlane past previously-unbeaten Pinkerton

May 16—PLAISTOW, N.H. — Alexa Salafia knew she needed every ounce of confidence, each and every moment she stood in the circle.

Not that there was any reason for the Timberlane senior and returning Eagle-Tribune All-Star's faith in herself to falter during the May 6 matchup.

But, facing off against the final undefeated team in New Hampshire Division I — which happened to be rival Pinkerton — the Owls' ace knew she could not let that confidence wane.

She had to hold strong to that steely determination, even when one of the state's premier offenses continued to apply pressure.

And she was more than up to the task.

"I just had to stay confident on the mound," said Salafia, who will next pitch at Saint Anselm College. "I had to not let myself get in my own head, and stay poised out there."

A cool head prevailed, and Salafia added another chapter to her already Owl career.

Salafia delivered a dazzling complete-game, five-hitter in Monday's 2-1 victory over previous unbeaten Pinkerton.

The Owls improved to 9-3, while the Astros fell to 10-1.

"This is a huge win!" said Salafia. "They were coming in undefeated, but we had momentum after a big win over Salem, which I think helped a lot in the big moments. Pinkerton is always a great opponent. They're always very competitive, especially because coach's daughter (Maddie Schoenenberger) is on the team. It's always fun to take them on."

Salafia was outstanding throughout the battle of Granite State front-runners. She struck out six and walked just one — buckling knees with a nasty changeup, while bringing the heat when it mattered. She threw 117 pitches, 72 for strikes.

"Lexi did a great job on the mound," said Owls coach Eric Schoenenberger. "She has a couple of pitches that work really well for her when she's comfortable she's not afraid to throw it. She was comfortable today."

And Salafia was at her best in the toughest spots.

Pinkerton had the go-ahead run on second with no outs in the fifth, but Salafia set the next three batters down in order to escape the jam.

Then, in the seventh, the Astros had the trying run at third, and the go-ahead run at first with one out. But Salafia induced a ground-out to second, then snagged a come-backer and threw to first for the final out.

"I just needed to let them hit the ball," Salafia said. I didn't have to strike everyone out. I wanted to get the ground balls in the tough situations.

"My changeup was really working, and I would definitely say my curveball and screw ball were going."

Salafia now hopes this momentum powers them forward.

"This was a huge win for us," said Salafia. "it is going to be huge for our confidence."

Timberlane 2, Pinkerton 1

Pinkerton (10-1): Lemay cf 4-0-0, Wheale dh 4-1-1, Moore c 3-0-2, Maddie Schoenenberger ss 3-0-1, Carvalho 3b 3-0-0, Caruso p 3-0-0, Hiscox 2b 3-0-0, Cahoon 1b 2-0-1, Murray rf 3-0-0. Totals 28-1-5

Timberlane (9-3): Poulin ss 4-0-0, O'Leary cf 1-0-0, Al. Salafia p 3-0-0, Cordeiro dh 1-1-0, McFadden 3b 3-0-1, Grosky lf 3-0-0, Fuller 1b 0-0-0, Salerno c 2-0-0, DeVito 2b 2-0-0, As. Salafia ph 2-0-2, Lynch cr 0-0-0, Ouellette cf 0-1-0. Totals 21-2-3

'RBIs: T — McFadden, As. Salafia; P — Moore

WP: Al. Salafia; LP: Caruso