WINSLOW — We have an early candidate for wildest game of the year.
Nokomis and Winslow played their softball game Monday afternoon, but it should have been played on Throwback Thursday. It was like a baseball game from 100 years ago, when long shots didn’t go over the fence and everything stayed in play. In a game that featured seven triples and a 3-2-8-6 double play, Nokomis scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning and held on for a thrilling 8-7 victory.
“I can’t believe we came back on them,” Nokomis coach J.D. McLellan said. “When we got up three, I thought, OK, we’ve got a good boost, and maybe that knocks them down, but they played unbelievably well. And then the hits just seemed to keep coming and coming and coming from both teams.”
Nokomis (3-0) was coming off victories by scores of 24-1 and 30-0, and kept hitting in the first inning. With two out and the bases loaded, Courtney Carlson lined a triple on an 0-2 pitch to put the Warriors up 3-0.
In the bottom of the first, Brooke Haskell singled, then came home on a booming triple to dead center field by Hillary Libby. Of all the fields with fences in the area, Winslow’s LaVerdiere Field (about 275 feet to center) is probably the only park that could have held Libby’s blast. She scored on Hayley Pottle’s single, and it was 3-2.
The Black Raiders went about holding Nokomis to three runs in some very unusual ways. In the second inning, Nokomis loaded the bases with nobody out, but Winslow pitcher Hannah Doble got out of the jam. In the third, Carlson tripled down the left-field line with one out, setting up the craziest play of the day.
Shannon Kasprzak hit a dribbler down the first base line, and both first baseman Jenna Petrovic and catcher Kiana Richards moved to field it. Petrovic grabbed the ball and shoveled it to Richards, who stepped back toward the plate in time to have Carlson knock her over. Richards was leveled but held onto the ball, but Kasprzak took off for second. Richards threw to second base, but no one was covering, so the ball went to Pottle in center field. When Kasprzak kept going to third, Pottle threw to Libby at shortstop, and Libby got Kasprzak with a sweep tag for a double play.
Winslow tied the score in the fourth when Paige Veilleux’s two-out single scored Richards, and went up 5-3 in the fifth on sacrifice flies by Pottle and Liz Pullen. The Raiders extended their lead to 6-3 entering the top of the seventh.
Leadoff hitter Sierra Fortin worked her third walk of the game, and Nokomis pitcher Sara Packard followed with a towering triple to left-center. On the play, Packard jammed her ankle rounding third, and limped off in favor of courtesy runner Kamryn Foss, who scored on a sacrifice fly by Becky Orcutt.
With Winslow’s lead down to 6-5, Doble got the next two batters, but Mikayla Charters reached on an error, went to third on two more errors, and scored on another error. Libby nearly ended the game with a fabulous diving over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory, but just missed the brilliant catch. After Kasprzak reached to put runners on second and third, Libby Dunivan tripled to deep left on a 3-2 pitch, giving Nokomis an 8-6 lead.
“There was a lot of pressure,” Dunivan said. “I just tried to make contact.”
“I thought we hit the ball really well here today,” Winslow coach Steve Bodge said. “We’ve just got to play defense, make some plays at the end. But it’s the third game of the year. Four of my infield positions are brand new. I thought we played great.”
So Nokomis had the lead going into the bottom of the seventh, but who would pitch? When Packard hurt her ankle, McLellan had Dunivan warm up.
“I actually was going to pull Pack,” McLellan said. “I turned to her and she said, â€˜No. I want out there.’ One way or the other, she was going to lose it or win it.”
Libby led off the inning with another triple to dead center field, and scored on a triple by Richards. But Richards had to hold on a fly ball by Pullen, and Packard ended things with a strikeout.
“This is huge,” McLellan said, “because they’re going to win a ton of games. That was an enormous win for us.”