NEWPORT — Stay humble, stay hungry.
That’s what Nokomis softball coach John McLellan is hoping his team will do going forward, and so far the Warriors have done just that en route to a spotless 12-0 record in Eastern Class B.
“I don’t like the hype that’s happened, but they haven’t gotten into that,” McLellan said. “They haven’t brought it to my attention saying, â€˜did you see this, did you see that?’ I’m saying so far — because you know how teenage girls can be — we’re very lucky in that account.”
Luck has had little to do with what Nokomis has done on the field this season though.
Wednesday the Warriors got another quality win, downing a strong Winslow team (9-3) 7-2 after struggling with runners in scoring position early.
“We were leaving too many people on base, but that is a great team so that was a huge win for us,” McLellan said. “Last time we played them I think we struggled, and so we were pumped up coming into this.
“We knew we could get to them eventually, but that’s a great team to win against. That’s going to be worth a lot of (Heal) points because they’re going to win a lot of games.”
Nokomis loaded the bases in both the second and third innings, but only managed to get a single run to show from it. With the game tied 1-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth the Warriors finally broke through though.
Taylor Shaw was hit by a pitch, while Sierra Fortin and Becky Orcutt each drew walks to load the bases for the third straight inning for Nokomis.
This time, however, Courtney Carlson was there for the clutch hit as she sent the first pitch she saw back up the middle to plate Shaw and Fortin.
“Courtney is a hitting machine,” McLellan said. “Winslow seems to be her team, because last time she did really well against them.”
While Carlson’s single ultimately gave her team the lead for good, free passes proved to be what truly undid the Black Raiders.
Orcutt came around to score on a walk by Drew Graves, while Mikayla Charters took one for the team to plate Carlson. For the game the Warriors either walked or were hit by a pitch 12 times, half of which came in the fourth inning.
“It depends who shows up from day to day I guess,” Winslow coach Steve Bodge said. “We mowed down Waterville yesterday, we didn’t walk a batter in five innings and didn’t hit a batter either. Today we had multiples of each of those. You can’t put baserunners on a against a good team and get away with it.”
While the Raiders weren’t as sharp as they were in 15-0 win over Waterville in five innings Monday, they still battled against Nokomis starter Sara Packard, one of the league’s top pitchers. Hayley Pottle had a triple and a run scored, Paige Veilluex was on base three times and had a run scored, Jenna Petrovic was 1-for-3 but on base all three times and Hannah Doble had a double.
“Winslow’s always been that way,” McLellan said. “You’re not going to throw it by them, there’s absolutely no way. How many times did we throw 10 pitches to a kid? The kids always seem to make a little contact. They have great reaction time, they’re well coached in that way and it’s just good discipline.”
Bodge knows though, as the playoffs loom his team still has work left to do.
“Sara’s obviously a top of the line pitcher,” Bodge said. “We didn’t get a lot of hits today, we got a few here and there but we didn’t hit her consistently enough today. We’ve got to keep practicing because that’s the type of pitching we’re going to see in the playoffs.”
The Raiders will look to get back on track Friday at 4 p.m. when they host Maine Central Institute, while Nokomis puts its perfect record on the line Friday at 4 p.m. at Waterville.
Evan Crawley——firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: Evan_Crawley