After a couple near-misses, Mt. View secured its first win of the softball season by defeating Waterville, 8-5. There have been some trying moments for the Mustangs, who were 0-16 in each of the last two years and lost their coach in preseason when Mike Gagnon was put on leave after being arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a female student.
“(The win) was exciting for the girls, especially for the juniors and seniors who have been part of such long seasons,” Mt. View coach Chris Downing said. “To finally get one in the win column was really nice. I’m proud of the girls for sticking with it.”
Downing said the players have remained upbeat all season.
“You couldn’t ask for better attitudes,” he said. “They come to practice every day with smiles on their face, and work hard. Of course, winning makes it even sweeter.”
Catcher Kersey Boulay has been solid as always, and freshman Taylor Shunk has been outstanding defensively at third base. Krysta Porter, a sophomore shortstop, has come on offensively of late and had a big hit against Waterville.
“The whole team’s just picking each other up,” Downing said. “It’s a team atmosphere — which it should be. It’s a team sport.”
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Erskine also earned its first win on Tuesday. The Eagles trailed Belfast 3-0 after four innings, but then trimmed the deficit to 3-2 and scored two runs in the top of the seventh for the victory. Erskine won despite striking out 15 times.
The Eagles have a bit of a young lineup and we’re missing some players during April vacation, but they’ve been competitive. They lost 16-0 to Gardiner on opening day, but that score was ballooned by an 11-run inning. On Monday, Erskine lost 7-1 to undefeated Nokomis in a game that was 1-0 heading into the sixth inning.
“I said (Monday) I think we’re the best 0-5 team in the league,” Erskine coach Holly Tripp joked. “Everybody’s back where they feel comfortable. They’ve just got a little bit more maturity, a little more composure.”
Sophomore Mallory Chamberlain is handling the pitching for Erskine. While Chamberlain has some issues with her back, she’s developing well.
“The thing I love about Mallory is she can wipe her brain clean,” Tripp said. “She’s not going to have a mental meltdown. She can adapt to any situation. Yeah, a strikeout’s really exciting, but when you put thought into it and throw specific pitches to jam a great hitter, that’s really (exciting), and she’s starting to celebrate those little victories.”
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With only four returning players — and those are the only four players who aren’t freshmen or sophomores — Maine Central Institute has done well to start off the season at 2-4. MCI’s most recent game was a 15-1 setback to Winslow on Tuesday.
“We had a lot of good moments that we could have had better results,” MCI coach Amanda Riendeau said of the Winslow game. “I think we just kind of move past it, and keep working hard.”
The Huskies own wins over Waterville and Mt. View, and had close losses to Maranacook and Morse. Riendeau said the team’s batting has been a plus, and also credited her players with being willing to try new positions while the Huskies looked for the right combinations.
“Some of the younger players have stepped up to play different roles on the team and really embraced those roles,” Riendeau said.
One of those younger players stepping up is sophomore catcher Ryleigh Lord, who opted for track instead of softball last spring.
“Defensively, she throws people out,” Riendeau said. “She’s our third batter, and she’s taking that role really well. She’s aggressive on the bases. I am very happy with her.”
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After being swept in its season opener April 30 at Thomas College, Forest Hills waited until Wednesday for another chance to play. The Tigers rebounded nicely, sweeping Rangeley in a doubleheader.
“We only had one practice on the field (before the first game), and that was a wet, wet day,” Forest Hills coach Ernie Giroux said. “We’ve had a few good practices since then.”
Both Haley Cuddy and Anna Carrier pitched against Rangeley, but Giroux said Cuddy is the No. 1 and that arrangement makes the Tigers better defensively.
“Anna, she’s such a good defensive shortstop,” Giroux said. “The rest of the team seems to play better when she’s there.”
Wednesday also marked the first regular season games on the spruced-up softball field at Forest Hills. Giroux said the grass infield was torn up and replaced with more traditional basepaths and dirt in the pitcher’s circle.
“Now they can slide without hurting themselves,” Giroux said. “Before, we had gravel. They hated to slide — I don’t blame them. Every time a girl slid last year, they’d tear up their thigh or their leg.”