WINTHROP — No Mountain Valley Conference softball team has improved more since opening day than Carrabec.

After a slow start, the Cobras have won seven in a row and 10 of their last 11 to insert themselves firmly into the postseason playoff picture. Along the way they’ve avenged a number of early losses.

That was the case Tuesday when they edged Winthrop 2-1 on the strength of solo home runs from Bailey Dunphy and Lexi Cowan.

The game ended the regular season for Carrabec (11-5), which jumped over Winthrop into third place in the Class C South Heal point standings. The Ramblers (10-5) have a game left Thursday against Telstar.

“We’re trying to stay under the radar but we just keep winning,” Carrabec coach Craig Knight said. “And that’s a good thing. We’re just keeping everything simple.”

Carrabec junior Sam LeBeau was particularly sharp in the circle, allowing four hits while fanning five and walking one.

“I felt like I had a little more snap today,” LeBeau said. “I was a little more confident and I was ready to play.”

LeBeau and the Cobras lost 6-2 to Winthrop earlier in the season, but have come on strong since.

“In the beginning we were like ‘we’ll do what we can,'” Dunphy said. “Now we realize we actually can win and we’re putting everyone to use.”

Dunphy, the team’s junior catcher, led off the game with a single on the first pitch from Winthrop starter Layne Audet. In the third she drilled a line drive over the center field fence to tie the game at 1-all. It was the fifth homer of the season for Dunphy.

Two batters later, Cowan belted her second homer of the season over the center field fence to make it 2-1.

“Those are the first two home runs Layne has given up all year, actually in her career,” Winthrop coach Chuck Gurney said. “Nothing you could do. Legit hits.”

Audet escaped the third inning by striking out the final two batters she faced with a pair of runners on base. The sophomore allowed eight hits — just two after the third inning — while striking out five and walking two. Dunphy had three hits for the Cobras to push her average to over .770.

The game featured two of the top catchers in the MVC in Dunphy and Winthrop senior Kaleigh Oberg. Oberg doubled off the fence in the first inning to drive home Moriah Hajduk, who had been hit by a pitch. LeBeau escaped the inning with a pop-up and a strikeout and didn’t allow another hit until a Bri Baxter bloop to left-center in the fifth inning.

“Her spots were on.” Dunphy said. “She had good snap tonight, too. She just didn’t give up.”

The Cobras played well defensively. In the second, left-fielder Makenzie Edes juggled Baxter line drive but caught it before it hit the ground. Cowan robbed Audet of a hit in the fourth when she ranged into short right to catch her flare. And with a runner on in the seventh, Dunphy made a diving grab of Baxter’s bunt attempt.

The Ramblers threw some leather as well, playing errorless defense. Maria Dostie made two nice grabs in center and Kate Perkins gloved Makenzie Baker’s rising liner at short in the seventh.

“That’s our forte,” Gurney said. “We don’t score many runs. It’s pitching and defense, that’s what we do.”