OAKLAND — The Cony and Messalonskee softball teams each knew runs would be at a premium heading into their game Monday afternoon.

Ultimately, it only took one to decide the contest.

Alyssa Smith — rounding the bases as a courtesy runner for catcher Taylor Easler — scored from third on a ball hit to second by Cassidy Baker with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Eagles a 1-0 win over the Rams in a pitchers’ duel between Messalonskee’s Kirsten Pelletier and Cony’s Arika Brochu.

Both pitchers went the distance, with Pelletier allowing just two hits, walking none and striking out 15. Brochu gave up six hits, walked one, struck out seven and gave up the single run, which was unearned. Messalonskee’s Madisyn Charest was the lone player to have multiple hits, going 3-for-4 out of the leadoff spot.

“It was going to be a pitching duel. I could feel it,” Pelletier said. “Arika’s really good and I give credit to her.”

“She had a great rise ball that was throwing us all off that we really haven’t seen this year,” Brochu added. “We just have to adjust a little bit better.”

While Cony struggled to get runners on base, Messalonskee threatened on a number of occasions but could not get the timely hit. The Eagles had runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the third and could not score, and stranded a runner in scoring position with less than two outs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings as well.

“We hit the ball well (Monday). Brochu is a dominant pitcher. She did a great job, she mixed it up, she pitched the triangle really well but I found our hits were not timely early on,” Messalonskee coach Leo Bouchard said. “It seemed that whenever we would get runners on Arika would pump up and she’d pitch harder.”

In the bottom of the ninth, though, the Eagles finally broke through.

Easler led off by sharply grounding a ball to third that Cony’s Sydney Cheever did well to knock down ranging to her left, but after gathering the ball her throw to first was slightly off the mark and caused Skyler Watson’s foot to come off the bag.

Smith entered to run for Easler, and Brochu’s first pitch to Pelletier sailed well over Cony catcher Kasidy Turgeon. The play very nearly went against the Eagles, though, as Smith stumbled half way to second base but still had enough time to get up and make it to the bag safely.

Pelletier then successfully executed a sacrifice bunt to move Smith to third, setting up Baker for the game-winner on a sharply hit ball to the right of second base. Cony’s Delaney Keithley managed to stop the ball from going into the outfield, but she was forced to go to the ground to make the play and thus gave her very little chance of throwing out Smith at the plate.

“It was a high pitch she hit,” Cony coach Rocky Gaslin said. “I give her credit.”

Cony, meanwhile, had very few scoring opportunities throughout. Autumn Sudsbury broke up Pelletier’s bid for a perfect game with a bloop single with two outs in the top of the fifth and proceed to steal second, but Pelletier bounced back with a strikeout to end the threat. Sudsbury was the only one of the Rams’ three baserunners to make it into scoring position for the contest.

“It was definitely an eye-opener for us. We kind of have to pace ourselves a little better and kind of put the ball in play,” Brochu said. “That was kind of obvious for everyone that we just have to put into play.”

While the Rams’ offense is still a work in progress, their defense has improved markedly since committing 12 errors in a 17-4 loss to Oxford Hills in their season opener. Cony made just a single error Monday.

“Both teams played tough defense and I’m proud of my kids,” Gaslin said. “They played tough.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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