MONMOUTH — Injuries have forced an already-young Monmouth Academy softball team to throw a number of freshmen into the varsity fire prematurely. Tuesday’s Mountain Valley Conference opponent, Carrabec, is well known for its propensity to turn up the heat on all of its opponents.

The Cobras took advantage of the Mustangs’ inexperience and stole a dozen bases without being caught, pitcher Sam LeBeau struck out 10, and Carrabec extended its winning streak to four games with an 8-2 victory.

LeBeau allowed just two hits — both singles — and walked two. Both runners who walked came around to score in the seventh on an error to spoil the shutout.

“It probably wasn’t my best game, but I feel like I did pretty well,” said LeBeau, who also walked, stole a base and scored a run.

Bailey Dunphy led the Cobras offensively with half of their hits (three singles) and half of their stolen bases (six). She also scored a run and drove one in.

Carrabec improved to 5-3 while Monmouth dropped to 2-6.

Carrabec scored at least one run in every inning except the fifth, but had only one inning — the first — with more than one hit. Five Monmouth errors, a dropped third strike and the aggressive baserunning kept the pressure on Monmouth’s defense and sophomore pitcher Emily Chasse.

“We try to be as aggressive as we can,” LeBeau said. “We have a green light for the most part.”

“We live in the fast lane,” Carrabec coach Craig Knight said. “Our team is built around speed and putting the ball in play. That’s what we do best. We’re not going to hit many home runs or many gaps, but we are going to put the ball in play and steal bases.”

Dunphy immediately set the tone with a bunt single to start the game. After moving to second on Baylee Atwood’s ground out, she stole third and scored on Libby Chestnut’s single.

A dropped third strike and error put two Cobras on with two out in the second for Dunphy, who hit a sharp ground ball to short. Tia Day knocked the ball down, but the speedy Dunphy beat her throw to first, allowing Brooke Moore to score and make it 2-0. The stretching first baseman dropped Day’s throw and a hustling Paige Chadbourne scored all the way from second to make it 3-0.

“They’re very aggressive on the bases, and we’ve made some very young mistakes. We’ve got a whole bunch of freshmen out in the field due to injuries,” said Monmouth co-coach Dave Kaplan, who had five freshmen in Tuesday’s starting lineup. “They’re getting better.”

The Cobras manufactured another run in the third without a hit as Makayla Willette’s ground ball drove home Chestnut, who had a leadoff walk. They added unearned runs in the sixth and seventh.

LeBeau allowed just one Monmouth baserunner to advance as far as second base through the first six innings. Rhiannon Dumond and Jillian Harris accounted for the Mustangs’ hits, both singles.

“She’s pitched good all year. She just keeps getting better,” Knight said of LeBeau. “She likes the warm weather. We gave them six outs the last inning. The defense has got to play defense. She can’t be perfect all of the time.”

Mikayla Cameron and Abby Ferland scored on the first of two Carrabec errors in the seventh to break up the shutout bid.

“It’s getting a little better,” Kaplan said of Monmouth’s offense. “We’ve got some freshmen who are starting to learn pitch selection. Not so much the swings, which are pretty good now, but what they should be swinging at. It’s a long process for them. We’re missing a whole lot of people but the other kids are starting to step up and starting to figure it out. We’ll take a few lumps, but we’ll be OK.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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