SOUTH CHINA — Winslow entered Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B softball game with Erskine on Saturday carrying a 5-0 record with 79 runs scored on the season.

Winslow’s defense has been playing well all season, too, despite being overshadowed by the bats.

With Erskine giving the Black Raiders their first competitive game of the season Saturday, the defense jumped at the chance to show what kind of a difference it can make. Winslow played nearly flawless defense, right down to a game-ending double play that abruptly ended the Eagles’ comeback bid in a 4-1 victory.

“We’ve got really good defense going. We’ve got seniors in key positions and our defense has been really good,” Winslow coach Steve Bodge said. “I think we’ve made one error all season.”

While Winslow doubled that number Saturday with one miscue, Erskine committed four errors, three of which led to two pivotal unearned runs for the Black Raiders.

“That’s been our trouble this year. We’re getting better,” Erskine coach Holly Tripp said. “We were a little unlucky (offensively). We seemed to hit the ball right at them.”

Winslow senior Hillary Libby scattered five hits, walked one and struck out four. After her teammates staked her to a lead in the third, Libby retired 13 of the next 14 batters before running into trouble again in the seventh, where the Raiders had to hold off the Eagles.

An error (a bobbled grounder to second), a walk and single by Dunn loaded the bases with one out for the Eagles. However, Libby promptly got Lydia Boucher to bounce back to the circle and threw home to start the game-ending 1-2-3 double play.

“As a pitcher it gives me a lot of confidence having that defense because I trust my teammates in the field,” Libby said. “I know they’re there to back me up.”

Erskine (4-3) scored its lone run to take the lead in the second. MacKenzie Gayer reached on a fielders’ choice, went to second on Harley Denning’s single with two outs and then scored on Megan Dunn’s single. Libby escaped further trouble after Boucher’s liner back to the circle glanced off her glove but right to third baseman Paige Veilleux, who gunned Boucher out at first.

Hard-throwing Erskine freshman Kayla Hodgkins struck out three of the first six Black Raiders before they got on the board in the third. Sarah Guimond tripled home Jenna Petrovic. The throw to third got away and an alert Guimond noticed catcher Taylor McLaggan had to back up the throw, leaving home plate uncovered.

Kiana Richards continued the inning with a two-out single and Bailey Robbins drove her home with a double to left to make it 3-1.

Winslow got another unearned run in the fourth when Liz Pullen singled, the Eagles misplayed back-to-back fly balls and Guimond drove home Pullen with a sacrifice fly.

Erskine threatened to cut the lead in half when Mallory Chamberlain led off the fourth with a single and quickly went to second on a wild pitch. Libby left her there with a strikeout, fly out to center and a nice diving backhand stop at third by Veilleux to rob Denning of a potential RBI.

Hodgkins kept the Eagles close by retiring 11 of the final 12 batters she faced.

“We couldn’t get anything going. We’re not used to that. We’ve been pounding people,” Bodge said. “It was nice to play a game like that. I think they were well-prepared for Hillary, and (Hodgkins) was the fastest pitcher we’ve seen this year.”

“To me, this is a trap game because we play (undefeated) Oceanside on Monday and we survived it,” Bodge added.

While the Black Raiders were glad to have been tested before facing Oceanside, Tripp said the close contest reminded the Eagles what they need to do to be mentioned in the same breath as the KVAC’s two unbeatens.

“That’s a really tough team right there and the fact that we’re in (the game) is great,” Tripp said. “I really feel like, in general, we have decided who has won the games that we’ve played in. So, if we can cut down on the errors, we’re in great shape.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33