Barrington wins softball state championship
Barrington defeats Mt. St. Charles 3-2 in finals
The Barrington High School softball team capped a very special season with a 3-2 victory in the Division II state championship game on Tuesday, June 13.
The Eagles rode the pitching talents of junior Paige Concannon throughout the postseason and into the finals. The Barrington pitcher struck out 10 Mt. St. Charles batters during the championship game and limited the Mounties to just four hits. Concannon was also aided by some stellar defense behind her.
Barrington coach Sandy Gorham praised the play of his entire team, but made special mention of his outfielders — Lauren Grove, Maia Villarica and Heidi Grove — and his catcher, Sydney Parkhurst.
Gorham said Parkhurst made some key plays during the championship game, including a run-saving tag during an attempted Mt. St. Charles suicide squeeze bunt play.
The Mounties had a runner on third with one out in the third inning, so Barrington coaches alerted their players to the potential for a suicide squeeze. Sure enough, the Mounties' batter squared and dropped down a bunt. Concannon charged off the mound, grabbed the ball and flipped to Parkhurst while the Mt. St. Charles runner charged for home.
Parkhurst snared the throw from Concannon and swiped the perfect tag on the runner.
"It was a beautiful tag," said Gorham, adding that the runner tried to avoid the tag and then reach back to the plate, only to have Parkhurst nab her with the glove. "That was huge for momentum.
"Sydney is so quick and mobile… She makes all the unsung hero plays that you don't see in the stat book."
Barrington fell behind early in the championship game, as the Mounties scored one run in the top of the first. The Eagles evened the score in the bottom of the first, but Mt. St. Charles went ahead 2-1 with another run in the third.
Gorham said Concannon settled into a nice rhythm after a slow start on the mound.
"She comes on strong. She gets faster as the game wears on," he said.
Barrington's offense continued to battle throughout the game, but the Eagles' hits often came with two outs and the bases empty. Finally, in the fifth inning, Barrington scored a run to tie the game at 2-2, as Maddy Cox drove in Kaylee Feather, and then, in the bottom of the sixth, the Eagles went ahead for good. Parkhurst drove in the go-ahead run, which was scored by Alex Marinelli.
Gorham said the strong finish served as a nice reward for his team, which has worked hard all season and overcome some significant challenges. The coach mentioned injuries to some of the key players, including Concannon, Parkhurst, Villarica and Cox.
"This team had to overcome a lot. They are just a wonderful group of girls," said Gorham. "It's a special group. They do a great job supporting each other. They have great chemistry."
Gorham was quick to share praise with his assistant coaches, including Brent Dalessio, Paul Feather and Russ Cross, and with the younger players on the team. Gorham said there were a number of freshmen who spent the regular season playing on the JV team, but continued to show up and help out with the varsity throughout the playoffs. Gorham told them they likely would not see much, if any, playing time, but that did not stop them from contributing.
"They did a great job. They're good kids," he said. "They cheered for each other and they supported each other."
The morning after the state championship victory, Coach Gorham was at work when he received a text message. It was from one of the players on the team and included a team picture.
"They were eating breakfast together at Bagels Etc.," said Gorham. "They're a special group.
"They have great chemistry, and if your team has chemistry it can go a long way…"
Run to the title
Barrington opened the Division II playoffs with a 2-0 win over Rogers in the opening round. The Eagles then knocked off North Smithfield, 2-1, and then defeated Mt. St. Charles 4-0 in the winner's bracket final. The Mounties battled out of the loser's bracket finals to earn a second chance at Barrington, but the Eagles proved too strong, winning 3-2 in the finals.