CUMBERLAND — Even with one of the state’s best pitchers returning – senior left-hander Anya Chase – Coach Kevin Fox wasn’t sure what to expect from his Wells High softball team in its opener Thursday.

The Warriors have four new starters and this was their first varsity game.

When it was over, the Warriors were pretty pleased. Chase allowed three hits and struck out 15, and Sam Bogue slugged a three-run homer as Wells defeated Greely, 6-0.

“It was a great first step,” said Fox. “It’s great to start off, obviously, with a win. Just add to the confidence bank.”

There was plenty of reason for optimism for the Warriors. Chase showed why she will pitch next year at MIT with a dominating performance, but the Warriors also got some clutch hits and played good defense.

“This was only our second time on a field,” said Chase, “but everyone played well. It was definitely a team effort. The new kids really stepped up and contributed … It was a good way to start the season.”

Wells scored twice in the first inning. Chase started things with a single, stole second and scored on two wild pitches. Karissa Kenyon drove in the second run with a single down the first-base line.

But Greely pitcher Kelsey Currier, who had eight strikeouts, matched Chase the next four innings, keeping it 2-0. Then the Warriors struck in the fifth for three on Bogue’s home run. Chase again led off, this time with a single to center, going to second when the ball was misplayed. Olivia Clay reached on a slow infield grounder. Then Bogue took a strike before hammering the next pitch over the fence in right-center field. “As soon as I felt it off the bat it felt right,” said Bogue.

She also had a little video help on her home run. Her sister was videotaping her at-bats. And although Bogue had reached on a single in the third, she didn’t feel comfortable, so she watched that at-bat in the dugout.

“Just a quick look at it, saw that I wasn’t keeping my head in there,” said Bogue. “So I kept my head in and just drove it. Felt really good off the bat.”

“That really helped,” said Chase, who doubled in Abby Hanson in the sixth. “It’s nicer to see 5-0 up there instead of 2-0.”

Greely got a couple of runners on in the seventh but couldn’t get anyone across.

“We’re a work in progress,” said Greely Coach Rob Hale. “We battled one of the preseason favorites so now we have a measuring stick. We made mistakes and will learn from them.”

The win was the 200th of Fox’s career at Wells. His players presented him with a bobblehead that had his likeness, complete with his trademark red shorts.

He said “it’s pretty awesome” to achieve that milestone, but also knows how close he came to it last year – Wells lost in the Class B South final, giving up four runs in the last inning to lose to Fryeburg Academy, 6-5.

Chase said the memory of that loss fuels the returning players.

“We want to get back there and hopefully do better than last year,” she said. “The seniors, we try not to think about it and have the pressure on us. But it’s definitely driving us and motivating us to try our best.”

UPDATE: The story was modified at 12:45 p.m. Friday, April 13, to clarify that Anya Chase will pitch at MIT, which does not give athletic scholarships.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPh

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