The Gardiner softball team got its first scare of the season Tuesday when it rallied for four runs in the seventh inning to defeat Leavitt 8-4 in a Class B game in Turner.
Despite the close score, the unbeaten Tigers (11-0) hit as they have all season, collecting 13 against the Hornets.
“I could not be happier with the way we’re putting the ball in play,” Gardiner coach Ginger Shaw said. “Everybody is putting the ball in play.”
Everyone in the Gardiner starting lineup has an on-base percentage of at least .500. Junior Kristal Smith, who has yet to strike out, leads the team with a .787 average followed by Bri Brochu at .725 and Morgan Carver at .667.
The Tigers have two strong pitchers in Smith and senior Brittany Rollins. Smith drew the start against Leavitt and gave up a season-high eight hits before giving way to Rollins, who pitched the seventh for the save..
“They both have their definite pluses,” Shaw said. “I think they complement each other well. Kristal has more of a wide variety while Brittany is more of a spot pitcher. She really hits her spots. We generally have the mindset of using one pitcher going into a game.”
The Tigers went 15-1 last season before they lost to Oceanside in the conference championship game and then again in the Eastern Maine final. They play the Mariners in Rockland on Friday and expect a tough game.
“What we’re doing well right now is we’ll still hungry,” Shaw said. “We’re happy just not content.”
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Cony is cruising along at 11-1, its only loss 1-0 to Bangor in which junior Arika Brochu pitched a no-hitter but lost on an error. Brochu is 8-1 this season with an 0.82 earned run average and 87 strikeouts in 60 innings pitched.
“She’s mixing it up pretty good,” Cony coach Rocky Gaslin said. “Overall, she’s probably the fastest in the league. She also has a good changeup and a rise ball. You’ve got that decision you’ve got to make.”
Brochu came into the season tied for the career home run mark at Cony with nine, but has yet to hit one. In fact, no one on the team has yet after the Rams belted 15 in the regular season a year ago.
“It’s a different philosophy this year, more line drives” Gaslin said. “At the end of the year last year we were going for the fences. We should have just tried to make contact.”
Senior Olivia Deeves leads the Rams in hitting at .556 with 13 RBIs followed by Brochu at .457 and Alyssah Dennett at .451. Kassidy Turgeon and Maggie Russell each have 12 RBIs.
“I always felt we’d have a good team,” Gaslin said. “I’m impressed how fast our defense is getting better.”
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Hall-Dale finishes its season next week against Telstar, Winthrop and Carrabec. The Bulldogs’ (8-2) only two loses have come against Madison.
“Next week is going to be a big week for us,” Hall-Dale coach Christen Lachapelle said. “We’re really not overlooking any opponent.”
Hall-Dale is getting sound pitching from junior Olivia Maynard and sophomore Becca Ackerson. Maynard is playing third right now in the absence of Morgan Rush who sustained a concussion.
“I’m pretty confident with either of my pitchers,” Lachapelle said. “They both throw hard.”
The offense is getting results from the top of the order, led by Maynard, but the emphasis has been on productive at-bats.
“To be able to move a runner from first to third sometimes is huge,” Lachapelle said. “I think right now were really kind of jelling as a team.”
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Winthrop suffered a 4-2 setback to Oak Hill on Tuesday but the Ramblers remain in the thick of the Mountain Valley Conference race at 7-3.
“I think we can play with anybody as long as we play our game,” Winthrop coach Bob Ouellette said.
Senior pitcher Krissy Doughty pitches to contact and has a solid infield defense of five seniors. They run into trouble when they don;t hit the ball consistently.
“We’ve had our moments,” said Ouellette,noting four homers the team hit at Dirigo.
Senior Cat Ouellette and younger sister Lily each are hitting over 400 to lead the team in hitting. Cat, who has the only homer hit at Winthrop’s field since it was built five years ago, is getting pitched around a lot as she was in a couple of losses to Monmouth.
“She’s discouraged,” Ouellette said. “I understand. I’d probably do the same thing.”