WINSLOW — There was no panic in the Gardiner Area High School softball dugout after the Tigers surrendered the lead to Winslow in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“Today we really showed it with our hitting when we needed to,” freshman second baseman Haley Brann said. “If you need the runs, then you need to get them.”

The Tigers got the runs they needed in the top of the seventh inning, and tacked on a few more for good measure. Gardiner turned four hits and four Winslow errors into eight runs in the inning to take an important Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference win, 11-7.

The win improved Gardiner to 12-1, and widened its Heal point lead in Class B South over second-place Medomak Valley. Winslow is now 7-3.

Gardiner led 3-2 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, when the inning was kept alive with an error that scored Haley Ward with the tying run. Ashley Lachance’s RBI single then gave the Black Raiders a 4-3 lead. As the Tigers prepared to hit in the top of the seventh, coach Don Brochu kept his message to his team simple.

“Let’s see what you’re made of. Play for one and tie the game,” Brochu said. “It’s getting down to the end of the season now, so you’re going to see these games.”

Mallory Bailey reached on an error to open the inning, and Meghan Meehan’s infield hit and another error put runners in scoring position for Brann, the No. 9 hitter in Gardiner’s lineup. Brann drove a double off the left field wall, giving Gardiner the lead for good. Brann said she knew she made good contact the way the ball felt off the bat.

“Coach told me to either get one in right field or left field, and he said to get a sac fly or in the outfield, and I did it,” Brann said.

Gardiner’s first seven hitters reached base in the seventh, and when it was over, 11 had come to the plate and eight runs were scored, giving the Tigers an 11-4 lead.

“We made a few (errors) early in the game that didn’t hurt us as bad. Those ones hurt because their nine hitter steps up and has a great hit to the fence. Good for her, that’s a great job. That’s a good team, and you can’t give them extra outs,” Winslow coach Steve Bodge said.

The Black Raiders answered with three runs in the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to complete the big comeback.

It was a sloppy game all around, with each team making five errors. Fifteen of the game’s 18 runs, including all 11 Gardiner runs, were unearned.

“We have been pretty sound defensively, but they hit the ball hard. When balls get hit hard on this clay, it’s going to bounce. It takes funny bounces, and there’s your errors,” Brochu said.

Gardiner took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, when freshman catcher Jazmin Clary hit a three-run home run to dead center field. Winslow got two runs back in the third, when Bailey Robbins hit an infield single and the Tigers made an error. Winslow left a runner on third base in the first inning, and again in the fifth.

“They gave us some extra outs, too, and we took advantage. We left a lot of runners on base early in the game. If we score more runs early, we’re not even in that position,” Bodge said.

Brann had three hits for Gardiner, while Jillian Bisson had two hits and earned the win. Ward scored two runs for Winslow. Lachance and Paige Trask each had a pair of hits for the Black Raiders.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM