NEWPORT — Solid contact was tough to come by in Friday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B softball game as Nokomis junior Britney Bubar and Gardiner sophomore Jillian Bisson were locked in a scoreless pitching duel.

That changed when Nokomis junior Austin Leighton came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning. After striking out twice against Bisson in previous at-bats, Leighton took the first pitch she saw over the left-field fence to give the Warriors a walk-off 1-0 victory.

“I was getting really discouraged because I don’t strike out a lot,” Leighton said. “My team was (cheering) me on so having that confidence really helped me.”

The homer was the first of the season for Leighton, who belted three last year, and it gave the Warriors (2-2) a much-needed win after dropping a pair of games. The loss was the first of the season for Gardiner (3-1).

Both pitchers were effective in their own way. Bubar held the Tigers to three hits with an array of offspeed pitches. She struck out six and didn’t issue a walk.

“I’m not really a fast pitcher so I rely on other pitches,” Bubar said. “I threw a lot of drops today because that’s what was working against them.”

Bisson threw primarily fastballs, striking out 11 without surrendering a walk. Her fastball to Leighton caught too much of the plate.

“I was trying to throw it on the outside and I think it curved in a little bit,” Bisson said. “She got a hold of it. It was a great hit.”

The Tigers didn’t have a hit until Mallory Bailey singled to left to open the fifth inning.

“Our hands were way too fast,” Gardiner coach Don Brochu said. “We had some fast pitching (Thursday against Waterville). We adjusted two or three things. Trouble is, (we’re) young. We’ve got to make some adjustments.”

Both teams played errorless defense. Nokomis leadoff hitter Alyssa Ellis bunted her way on with one out in the sixth, stole second and moved to third on a ground ball. But she was stranded there when No. 3 hitter Hanna Meservey lined out hard to Gardiner second baseman Haley Brann.

“Their pitcher threw that rise ball and it seemed to come in on them pretty hard, and the girls had a hard time to pick up on that,” Nokomis coach J.D. McLellan said.

The Tigers had their best chance to score in the top of the seventh inning after Julia Nadeau reached on a one-out infield hit. Bailey followed with a bloop hit over Leighton’s head at third and Nadeau tried to advance. Leighton recovered in time to take Maci Leali’s throw and tag Nadeau out as she retreated to second base.

“I don’t like people coming near third base,” Leighton said. “That’s my territory. Whenever we can get them out early on, that’s really good for us.”

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