OAKLAND — A happy Hannah Duperry is a hitting Hannah Duperry, or so the Messalonskee senior’s teammates tell her.

“They always tell me to make sure that I smile because I always hit when I smile,” Duperry said. “That’s kind of my thing.”

Duperry brought a lot of smiles to the Messalonskee side with a home run, double and three RBIs as the Eagles beat Cony 5-1 in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A softball showdown Monday on Messalonskee’s senior day.

Pitcher Kirsten Pelletier left Cony hitters feeling significantly less cheerful, allowing just two hits and an unearned run while striking out 14 in seven innings.

Messalonskee (13-0-1) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. After Pelletier drove in Madisyn Charest with the game’s first run on a ground out, Sarah Labbe walked with two out, Duperry then launched the first pitch she saw from Cony southpaw Skyler Watson over the left field fence for a two-run home run, her second of the year.

“Coach always tells us to find one we like and get the bat on it,” Duperry said. “That’s what I tried to do and I had success.”

Duperry found success again in the third inning after Kelsey Dillon scored on a throwing error on Pelletier’s bunt single to make it 4-0. Duperry went after the first pitch again and found the gap in left-center, scoring Pelletier.

Messalonskee coach Leo Bouchard said Duperry has found a groove at the plate over the last couple of weeks because she’s slowing down and not trying to hit everything over the fence.

“It’s going to the ball instead of trying to swing the bat so hard the bat is in the strike zone longer than the ball is,” he said.

The fireballing Pelletier missed Cony’s bats from the start, striking out the side in the first and six of the first seven Rams.

Cony (10-4) finally got its first baserunner with two out in the fourth inning when Kasidy Turgeon — who had both of the Rams’ hits — popped up between the circle and home plate. Pelletier couldn’t quite catch up with it before it hit the ground, then hit the pitcher’s knee and bounced outside the first base line, far enough away so that Pelletier couldn’t get Turgeon at first.

Undaunted, Pelletier struck out Sydney Cheever to end the inning.

The Rams hit just two balls out of the infield all day — a routine fly ball to left and Turgeon’s clean single in the seventh. She stole second and scored when the catcher’s throw sailed into the outfield and past the center fielder.

“In the warm weather, she’s that much stronger. She thrives in heat,” Bouchard said of Pelletier. “She has better command of her pitches. Although this year, when it was cold, she was doing well, too. She was pumped up. It’s her senior game and it’s Cony.”

“She’s a tough one to hit,” said Cony coach Rocky Gaslin, who expressed his displeasure with the strike zone. “She had us off-balance. It’s the first time we saw pitching like that this year. You’re going from 46-mile-per-hour pitches to this. We try to get geared up for those fastballs and swing easy, but it’s hard to do. I think we learned a good lesson today.”

The Rams will try to apply those lessons when they host the Eagles on May 31 in the regular season finale for both teams.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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