WINSLOW — One of the things people love about sports is the unpredictability of the games. But on Wednesday at Laverdiere Field, predictability was pretty entertaining, too.

The Winslow and Maranacook softball teams entered with virtually identical records, and there have been a number of close games in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s Class B division this spring. So as expected, it was a close game, with Maranacook coming from behind twice to pull out a 5-4 victory.

Maranacook pitcher Sarah Boynton threw a four-hitter with 12 strikeouts, but Winslow (7-5) did a fine job of forcing the Black Bears to make plays. A typical sequence came in the bottom of the first inning. Winslow’s Jess Pare was hit by a pitch, went all the way to third on a passed ball, and a scored on a grounder to the shortstop.

The Black Bears (9-4) struck out five times on Winslow pitcher Meg Richards’ first trip through the batting order. Maranacook coach Don Beckwith felt his players were a little passive and looking at too many called third strikes early on, but the Bears adjusted and struck out only once the rest of the game.

“Especially the second and third time around, we really put the ball in play,” Beckwith said. “They made some good plays, too. Not that we scorched the ball, but we didn’t strike out. The last (three) innings, I don’t think we struck out once.”

The Bears got seven of their eight hits and scored all of their runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Three of the runs were unearned, and Kaitlyn Chick drove in two runs with singles. Boynton also had an RBI single and Amber Ridlon chipped in with a sacrifice fly.

After falling behind 2-1, Winslow got two in the bottom of the fourth to go up 3-2. Jenn Poulin and Alli Leclair started the inning with singles, and Poulin came home when Maranacook muffed a bunt, and Leclair scored when Hayley Pottle grounded out in an eight-pitch at bat.

Maranacook eventually made five errors in the game, and Winslow tacked on another run without a hit in the fifth to close within 5-4. That inning ended when Richards smoked a line drive that Boynton speared for the out. In the sixth, the Black Raiders again had two on with two out, but Pare’s line drive went right to shortstop Jessie Smith.

“It’s kind of nerve-wracking at times,” said Boynton, who said she has been accepted to Thomas College but is still deciding whether to play softball. “But I work through it, and do what I can.”

A victory would have meant a lot in the Heal points for Winslow, which sits eighth in Eastern B. But coach Beth Fisher felt the game still meant a lot in terms of development.

“I’m concerned with the way my team improves for every game,” Fisher said. “This team that came out to play for us today made huge improvements from our last game. No championships are won in the middle of May. So we’re in it to always improve, and get ourselves prepared for playoffs.”

Beckwith hit on the same theme, using one of his favorite phrases about playing 16 regular season games to get ready for four playoff games. The Bears were fourth in Western B on Wednesday night.

“A lot of teams in our league can beat anybody,” Beckwith said. “I think it’s up for grabs. I really do.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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