READFIELD — Maranacook’s Paige Costa threw strikes and relied on her defense Friday as the Black Bears cooled a hot Leavitt team for their most important win in the past few seasons.

Costa held the Hornets to four hits and her teammates made some key plays in the field in beating Leavitt 2-0.

Maranacook improves to 8-3 in Class B South play while Leavitt falls to 8-4.

The Hornets had won six of their last seven games, including a victory over Winslow on Wednesday, but they came out flat against the Black Bears.

“I’m really hoping this is going to be a wake-up call for us,” Leavitt coach Kevin Leonard said. “We just didn’t have the enthusiasm. They won it, no question about that. They out-played us today.”

The Bears scored both their runs in the bottom of the first inning. Kaylee Jones opened the inning with a base hit up the middle and scored on a triple to right by Justice Merrill. A bobbled relay throw on the same play allowed Merrill to score.


“I’ve been hitting the ball consistently. I just sometimes don’t make it to first base,” said Merrill, who also singled. “This game was a better game for me.”

The Bears threatened to score more in the inning after Amanda Goucher singled and went to third on Erin Bonenfant’s double to right. But Leavitt senior Abby Robertson got Costa on a come-backer to the mound to end the threat and shut them down the rest of the way.

Costa allowed four singles, all in separate innings, struck out two and didn’t walk anyone.

“I’ve kept my walk count this year and I’m pretty proud of that,” Costa said. “This is really meaningful to all of us because we haven’t been able to battle much in recent years. We’ve been rallying a lot this year.”

The Black Bears committed just one error and got key plays from Goucher at third, Merrill at short, Kiara Degen at second and Gennah Mason at first.

“I thought we were really good defensively,” Maranacook co-coach Don Beckwith said. “We’ve only been outside once. We looked as good as we have in four or five years defensively.”


Goucher and Merrill combined for eight assists while Degen and Mason each speared line drives. With a runner on third and two out in the top of the seventh, Merrill fielded a ground ball and threw high to Mason at first. Mason was able to grab the throw and tag the runner before she hit first base to end the game.

“That was a close one,” Merrill said. “Some days it’s better to be lucky than good.”

The Bears collected eight hits in all, including two from Merrill and Goucher. And the win put them in seventh place in the tournament standings.

“Morale-wise and confidence-wise this was just a really big win for the girls in general,” Maranacook co-coach Jeannine Paradis said. “We’re still pretty young.”

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