READFIELD — Sometimes when a team gets rolling, it’s nearly impossible to stop.
The Maranacook softball team got off to a slow start Monday afternoon, but exploded in the bottom of the second and third innings en route to an 18-5 victory over Medomak Valley in five innings.
“It’s a big wave, it just keeps coming,” Black Bears coach Don Beckwith said. “That’s why you just have to keep it going, not beat yourselves and not take yourselves out of an inning. We had timely hits when people were in a position to score.”
Every single one of Maranacook’s starters scored at least one run during Monday’s contest as the Bears pounded out 10 hits and took advantage of five Medomak errors and seven walks.
Lead-off hitter junior Elise Linton did a nice job of setting the table in going 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Classmate Amber Ridlon was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and senior Ashley Michaud crossed home plate three times in the game as well.
In the circle, Maranacook got a strong performance from Lillie McLaughlin. The first-year junior gave up four earned runs in the first two innings, but settled down afterward on her way to a three-hit, nine-strikeout performance on 107 pitches.
“She hasn’t played softball since eighth grade and she’s a junior,” Beckwith said. “She’s a pretty darn good athlete.”
While the final numbers heavily favored the Black Bears, the Panthers were in complete control early.
Medomak plated two runs on one hit and two Maranacook errors in the top of the first, and in the bottom half of the inning, starter Casey Wagner needed just four pitches to get her team back in the dugout.
The Panthers tacked on three more in the top of the second to take a 5-0 lead, and it seemed as if Medomak was on its way to ending things early.
Then, with one swing of the bat, Ridlon got her team back on track.
The Black Bears’ first baseman pulled a double to right field — and the hit proved to be the start of a big inning for the home team.
“Coach always says base hit,” Ridlon said. “I always think bigger, but we were just trying to get the momentum going and get the girls going because our heads kind of went down in the beginning. Our morale got up as soon as we started getting some runs.
“…The cold was definitely a factor, but we needed to tune it out and we did a good job of doing that after the second inning. As soon as the momentum got going, we picked it up and went from there.”
McLaughlin and freshman Autumn Munn each followed by grounding out to short to allow Ridlon to score on a fielder’s choice, but the Black Bears were hardly ready to hibernate.
Maranacook proceeded to march 10 more hitters to the plate in the inning as two Medomak errors — coupled with singles from Samantha Tlumac, Linton and Munn — allowed the Bears to turn a 5-0 deficit to an 8-5 advantage in one inning.
McLaughlin didn’t allow a hit the rest of the way and Maranacook kept coming on offense. The Bears scored seven more in the third, and with no outs in the bottom of the fourth, senior Lindsay Jackson sealed the mercy rule win with a three-run blast of a home run that would have been out at just about any field with a fence.
The Black Bears (2-1) will look to keep their momentum going at 4 p.m. Wednesday when they travel to take on Camden Hills.
“Everyone is learning and we’re seeing improvements every single day,” Ridlon said. “We’re just going to peak from here. It’s only going to get better.”
Evan Crawley——621-5640 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Evan_Crawley